A Quadriplegic Indy Car Champ Just Received the First Semi-Autonomous Driver’s License
Technology is a trip, y'all
Ever since a career-ending crash caused a spinal-cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down in 2000, Sam Schmidt has dedicated himself to perhaps the loftiest, most asinine, least achievable dream ever: getting back behind the wheel.
And now, thanks to the Nevada DMV and the tech pioneers at Arrow Electronics, well, the crazy sumbitch has done it.
Schmidt is the recipient of the US’s first restricted driver’s license for a semi-autonomous vehicle. By using his head, breath and voice, he commands a heavily modified, fully radical C7-gen 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06. He blows into a tube to accelerate, and sucks in to brake. The steering, meanwhile, is controlled by four infrared cameras on the dashboard that track the movement of his head.
And you can bet your bottom the former Indy Car champ is still a better driver than your average bear. He bested the 100th running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and drove the ‘Vette a record-breaking 156 mph at the Indianapolis 500. And with the new license, he’s no longer limited to just the track.
It’s a winning day for tech. It’s a winning day for man.
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