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TMCNet:  Former IRL Racer Sam Schmidt Preparing to Drive During 2014 Indy 500 Festivities in Corvette Uniquely Modified for Quadriplegics

[May 05, 2014]

Former IRL Racer Sam Schmidt Preparing to Drive During 2014 Indy 500 Festivities in Corvette Uniquely Modified for Quadriplegics

INDIANAPOLIS --(Business Wire)--

Former Indy Racing League racer Sam Schmidt is working with a team of technology engineers and medical experts led by Arrow Electronics (News - Alert), Inc. (NYSE: ARW), to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and drive for the first time since he became paralyzed nearly 15 years ago in a racing accident.

The race car that will enable Schmidt, a quadriplegic, to drive on the track again has been dubbed the SAM Project, standing for "semi-autonomous motorcar." The 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray has been uniquely modified with integrated advanced electronics and a human-to-machine interface. The SAM Project's objectives are not to transfer control of a vehicle to technology but rather to enable disabled drivers to enjoy the driving experience by leveraging the power of technology.

The SAM Project is a collaborative venture between Arrow, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports and Falci Adaptive Motorsports, a nonprofit. Arrow is leading the development of the SAM car and the systems integration, as well as the engineering of specific systems for the car. Ball is leading the modification of the human-to-machine interface and driver-guidance system. The Air Force Research Laboratory is monitoring the driver's biometrics during laps, as well as collecting data in how the driver interacts with the guidance systems. Dr. Scott Falci is serving as the project's medical director.

Final preparations are underway for the car's debut during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 festivities later this month. Details about when the car will be demonstrated will be announced soon.


The SAM (semi-autonomous motorcar) Project is an innovative project in which a 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray car has been modified with integrated advanced electronics and a human-to-machine interface so a qualified quadriplegic driver can safely operate it under racetrack conditions. The concept of modifying cars so disabled racers might return to the racetrack is championed by Colorado neurosurgeon Dr. Scott Falci. The SAM Project is a collaborative venture between Arrow Electronics, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., the Air Force Research Laboratory (News - Alert), Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Falci Adaptive Motorsports. More information about the project is available at


About Arrow Electronics

Arrow Electronics ( is a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. Arrow serves as a supply channel partner for more than 100,000 original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers and commercial customers through a global network of more than 460 locations in 58 countries. Based in Englewood, Colo., Arrow guides today's innovators to a better tomorrow - a world of Five Years Out. Five Years Out is a community of builders and engineers who navigate the path between possibility and practicality. Arrow is guiding the SAM project forward to improve mobility for the disabled and demonstrate the power of innovation. For more information about Arrow and the SAM project, visit

About Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a subsidiary of the Ball Corporation and based in Broomfield, Colo., prides itself on its agility to innovate and strength to deliver for defense, intelligence, civil and commercial customers. The company advances science and protects the nation through the development and manufacture of space systems, tactical defense products and geospatial information solutions. Ball is a key contributor of technical innovations for the SAM project and leads the modification of the human to machine interface and driver guidance system..

About the Air Force Research Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory is a scientific research organization operated by the United States Air Force Materiel Command dedicated to leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable aerospace warfighting technologies, planning and executing the Air Force science and technology program, and provide warfighting capabilities to United States air, space, and cyberspace forces.

About Falci Adaptive Motorsports

Falci Adaptive Motorsports is a registered Colorado non-profit. Its mission is to provide opportunity, education and inspiration to the public through disabled racing initiatives and advancements in spinal cord injury research encompassing spinal cord regeneration techniques, drug development for spinal cord injury neuropathic pain, and development of adaptive technologies for those with spinal cord injury and disabilities in general. One of FAM's priorities is to demonstrate the SAM vehicle to advance new mobility systems and lower the barriers that discourage and isolate the disabled community.

About Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports

Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports is a racing team owned by quadriplegic Sam Schmidt and partners. SPMS competes in both IndyCar and Indy Lights. The SAM C7 was modified at its racing garage in Indianapolis. SPMS's priorities are for Sam Schmidt to safely drive at speed and to support the disabled community through his related charity, Conquer Paralysis Now.

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