Semi-Autonomous Motorcar SAM Project with Corvette C7 Stingray

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have showcased ‘Semi-Autonomous Motorcar’ Project, which empower disabled drivers. Driven by human performance technologies, SAM project has helped quadriplegic former IndyCar driver Sam Schmidt to safely drive a Corvette C7 Stingray. The project sees Ball and AFRL collaborate with Arrow Electronics, Inc., Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports and Falci Adaptive Motorsports.

Ball Aerospace Sam Schmidt“In our work for the Air Force, we’re engineering technologies to prevent and lessen future injuries by learning how humans can effectively interact with machines,” said Tim Choate, Aerospace & Cyberspace Technologies senior business manager, Ball Aerospace. “These technologies are designed to restore independence and enhance warfighter autonomy, and have the added benefit of introducing a new generation of mobility and safety technologies that are critically important for disabled individuals.”

Ball Aerospace created the human-machine interface and driver guidance system for SAM Project. Ball engineering team identified the driver’s abilities and matched them to what is needed to drive the car for optimal combination of machine-controlled and human-controlled functions. Ball team converted the driver’s head movements into computer commands that flow to the SAM vehicle’s central processor, to control steering, acceleration and braking. Sam Schmidt will demonstrate the Semi-Autonomous Motorcar SAM vehicle at speed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this month.