Sam Schmidt, a former IndyCar driver who was paralyzed in all limbs in an accident, completed the Hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in a modified car. He drove a McLaren 720S with head and mouth tracking.
Infrared cameras on the car’s dashboard capture Schmidt’s head movements and use them to steer left and right. The driver uses his mouth to accelerate and brake. This works with a device that Schmidt inflates or sucks, respectively to accelerate or brake.
according to Press release from Arrow Schmidt completed the 1.86km circuit this year in a modified McLaren 720S. The company shows a photo, but no video material. Last year, Schmidt also visited the Goodwood Festival of Speed, then with his modified Corvette C8. There is a video of that trip on YouTube.
No more technical details about the modifications to the McLaren 720S have been revealed, but the Arrow website Describes how the system works In a previously modified Corvette. Four infrared cameras on the dashboard track the movements of the helmeted driver with four infrared sensors. Acceleration and braking work by blowing into the nozzle and sucking it in using a pressure sensor from Freescale. Its input is passed to the rotating actuators that operate the accelerator and brakes.
In collaboration with Arrow, Schmidt developed the technology to be able to drive the car despite being paralyzed. This company also sponsors the Arrow McLaren SP racing team, which Schmidt founded after he was paralyzed in 2000. The manufacturers call the technology SAM: semi-autonomous cars.
In 2014, Schmidt drove again for the first time since his accident in 2000. He reached a speed of 172 km/h at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 2015, Schmidt co-starred in the iRacing racing simulator, with a simulator using SAM technology. 25 pro contestants entered the sim and Schmidt took 16th place. In 2016, Schmidt also competed in Pikes Peak-hill climb With a modified Corvette.
“Professional web ninja. Certified gamer. Avid zombie geek. Hipster-friendly baconaholic.”