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How technology put a paralyzed racing driver back behind the wheel

Indy Racing League
Walt Disney World Speedway
Schmidt Peterson Motorsport
Indy Lights
Arrow Electronics
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
the Semi-Autonomous Mobility
Staff Writer
Future US Inc
Future US
New York

Sam Schmidt
Elon Musk


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42nd Street
15th Floor


Goodwood Festival

Positivity     46.00%   
   Negativity   54.00%
The New York Times
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No longer able to drive a race car, Sam founded Schmidt Peterson Motorsport – now known as Arrow McLaren SP – which has since become the most successful team in the history of the Indy Lights series. In the years since, Sam has driven the car in amateur races, broken speed records and cruised down public streets in several US cities – all despite being paralyzed from the chest down.TechRadar had the opportunity to speak with Sam at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where we discussed his incredible journey, the future of assistive technologies and how he hopes his story inspires disabled individuals all around the world. They told my wife, ‘if he makes it this week, he has two to five years to live’ – that was 21 years ago.”The journey that followed – from life-saving ventilator to 500-horsepower race car – was a predictably long road of rehabilitation, adaptation and mental fortitude, but it was Arrow Electronics that would provide Sam with a decidedly unexpected route back into racing. “I’d done some work with a hospital in Denver, and Arrow happened to call them and ask if they had any patients who might want to drive again – and they said, ‘yeah, we know a former race car driver.’ So, we were introduced, and I agreed on one condition – we have to go 100mph. So far, Arrow says, he’s maxxed out at 201mph – faster than the take-off speed of most commercial airliners.At present, Sam needs a co-driver both for racetrack driving and street driving (because he’s steering with his head, he must look where he’s aiming the car). I could drive this car completely remotely, so others could do the same in a domestic setting, for different applications.”"I wouldn't wish a disability on anybody, but you can still do things in your life, you can still be productive, you can still have kids, you can still have a family – you’ve just got to put your mind to it.”On the subject of Wi-Fi, Sam is keen to emphasise that even simple technologies like smart home devices have proven immeasurably beneficial to individuals in his position. For somebody like me, who can’t do anything for himself, just the ability to command things can be life changing.”Sam has also been the beneficiary of another mobility-extending Arrow project, the SAM Suit 1.0 – a semi-autonomous exoskeleton allowing him to stand and walk again for short periods.

As said here by Axel Metz