IndyCar team owner, quadriplegic Sam Schmidt gets license to drive - attains 152 mph!

Verizon IndyCar Series team owner Sam Schmidt, who became a quadriplegic after a racing accident in 2000, was awarded the first restricted license in the nation to drive a semi-autonomous car by Nevada Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison on Wednesday.

Schmidt can drive a 2014 Corvette Z06 – a so-called Arrow SAM Car – modified by one of his IndyCar sponsors by using voice commands to switch gears, head motions to steer and breath manipulation to accelerate and brake.

Schmidt attained 152 mph in the car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May and drove Pikes Peak International in June.

Schmidt is a Nevada resident, bringing together local interest, a sponsor for driver James Hinchcliffe and advocacy groups for this bid.

State officials, according to a news release, have been interested in his efforts to drive on public roads because the state “is rapidly emerging as a leader in the manufacturing and automotive industry, creating and encouraging autonomous regulations, as well as testing and consumer deployment requirements.”

Six companies are licensed to test autonomous vehicles in the state.

“I can’t even begin to explain just how much this provisional driver’s license, and the mobility and independence it represents, mean to me,” Schmidt said in the release.
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