2022-06-24 | NYSE: ARW | Press release
Paralyzed racing driver Sam Schmidt drove the iconic 1.86km Goodwood Festival of Speed’ Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM Car) hillclimb on June 24, as part of the ‘FOS Highlights and FIA Batch 5 / BMW M , Sports Racers & Modern GTs’.
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Arrow SAM Car competing in Hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (Photo: Business Wire)
Schmidt and Arrow took part in this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in a 2021 McLaren 720S Spider sports car, which has been modified by Arrow, allowing Schmidt to drive the car with just his head. Additionally, Arrow exhibited the Semi-Autonomous Mobility Suit (SAM) exoskeleton at the Festival of Speed’s Future Lab, along with a prototype facial recognition steering system for the SAM car that is under development and has been successfully tested at low speed.
Schmidt is a co-owner of the IndyCar team (Arrow McLaren SP) and former Indy Racing League driver, who crashed during a practice lap at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando in 2000, seriously injuring his spinal cord. He was diagnosed as a quadriplegic. To help Schmidt regain his independence and drive again, Arrow engineers created a smart, connected vehicle that he can drive safely and independently using head and mouth controls. and voice commands – the Arrow SAM car.
To steer, dash-mounted infrared cameras detect Schmidt’s head movements – he looks left to steer the car left and right to steer the car right. To accelerate and brake, Schmidt uses his breath, inhaling and exhaling through a ‘sip-and-puff’ device. Schmidt is a racing driver once again.
Arrow designed another technology to improve Schmidt’s mobility – the Arrow SAM Suit. The result of a collaboration between Arrow and robotic engineering researchers at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee), the SAM suit advances current exoskeleton technology with extensions to support Schmidt’s torso and arms, as well as than his lower limbs. The SAM suit is part of the technology approach used to develop the Arrow SAM car, demonstrating how technology can provide freedom and choice for people with disabilities.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed, presented by Mastercard, is an annual motorsport event held on the grounds of Goodwood House in the south of England and hosted by Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, Duke of Richmond. The event has been held since 1993 and combines current, historic and future elements of motorsport and auto racing.
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