McLaren Car Designed for Quadriplegic Racer Shows How Tech Can Help Disabled

  • The SAM Car was designed so that quadriplegic racer Sam Schmidt could return to the track.
  • The vehicle is steered with head movements and its speed is controlled with a breathing tube.
  • I drove it and was reminded of the amazing ways technology can help people with disabilities. 

The SAM Car is no ordinary race car. 

Designed by Arrow Electronics for the former IndyCar racer Sam Schmidt, who was left paralyzed from the neck down following a high-speed crash in 2000, the Semi-Autonomous Mobility (SAM) car is steered using head movements and its speed is controlled with a breathing tube.

The car has allowed Schmidt to make a sensational return to the track — something he never thought would be possible following his accident. 

“Everything in my life is pretty much done by somebody else,” Schmidt told Insider. “But in the SAM Car, I am in complete control.

“Before my injury, that was the most normal thing in the world. I didn’t have that for 15 years, but now I have it again, it’s exhilarating.

“It’s truly amazing,” he added.

I had the opportunity to both drive the car and ride alongside Schmidt around Goodwood Motor Circuit, one of England’s most historic tracks.

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