• SAM Technology

    We did something historic. Modified a car—a 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray—so a qualified quadriplegic driver can safely operate it under racetrack conditions. We call it SAM. A semi-autonomous motorcar. We’ve tested it on the track, learned from our success and optimized the system for improved performance. Take a look under the hood.

  • Cameras & Sensors

    The driver wears a racing hat fitted with eight infrared sensors. Inside the car, four infrared cameras are mounted facing the driver. The cameras and sensors integrate into a system that can motion-track the driver’s subtle head movements in real time. For the Long Beach race, we upgraded the cameras. With a wider field of view, the new cameras are now more sensitive and responsive to Sam’s motions.

  • Steering

    The driver steers the car by looking in the direction he wants to go—on a curve, that’s the apex of the turn. The processor translates data from the camera and sensor to a rotary actuator on the steering wheel. The updates made to the SAM car for the Long Beach race give Sam more freedom and improved control over his “racing line.” That’s the most precise and efficient path that a race driver takes to complete a lap around the track.

  • Accelerating

    In version 1.0, the driver used the back of his head to press a sensor in the head rest, gradually accelerating in increments of 10 mph. In version 2.0, the driver now puffs breath into a mouthpiece equipped with a Freescale pressure sensor, specifically selected to be sensitive enough to respond to Sam’s input. The car responds directly via a rotary actuator attached to the gas pedal. The gas pedal is depressed based on the amount of air pressure Sam creates, giving him full control over acceleration—from a smooth gradual increase to a quick burst of speed.