Semi-autonomous car hits new record speed at Indy track

Arrow Electronics second semi-autonomous (SAM) race car has broken another speed record, achieving 152 mph at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Former IndyCar driver and current team owner, Sam Schmidt, was in the driving seat of the modified 2016 Corvette Z06 during the Indianapolis 500, surpassing his previous record of 107 mph in 2014. Schmidt has been paralyzed since his racing accident in 2000, but found a new way to drive thanks to Arrow’s autonomous technology.

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The electronics firm added specialized sensors that can follow the driver’s head movement, letting them steer, accelerate, and brake. The company claims this is a way for disabled people to enjoy the experience of driving on the road, without giving the computer full autonomy.

Arrow has been building on what it’s learned

“Arrow’s engineers incorporated insights learned from the previous model to build an advanced car design that incorporates cutting-edge Internet of Things technologies and live data-streaming, among other exciting improvements,” said Joe Verrengia, Arrow’s global director of corporate social responsibility. “We hope the SAM car continues to inspire and drive technology innovation forward.”

While we wait for autonomous cars to become safe and legal, semi-autonomous features like head movement could be a smart way to tackle the challenge of disabled drivers. Reports suggest that we’re going to see a large influx of disabled and elderly drivers, once autonomous cars are available to the public.

“It was a thrill to be back in control and hitting racing speeds on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again,” said Schmidt. “The SAM project is a great example of what’s possible when the right people come together to innovate and push boundaries.”

To expedite the development process and get more developers on board, Arrow has made its car platform open source. Engineers are able to add functionality to the platform or use it for their own projects.

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