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  • Age
    54
  • Occupation
    VP of Engineering
  • Company
    Arrow Electronics
  • Location
    Englewood, Colo.

A new racecar, driven last month by a quadriplegic, may hold the keys to more independence for disabled persons. “A car is very symbolic,” says Chakib Loucif. “It’s freedom.” The engineer and his team at Arrow modified a 2014 Corvette Stingray for Sam Schmidt, a former pro driver left handicapped after a raceway accident in 2000. Loucif’s crew configured sensors and cameras, designed an electronic drive train, and created a system to monitor biometric data—all so that Schmidt could steer using his head movements and brake with a mouth device. “Through normal human gestures, the car actually adapts to the individual,” Loucif says. Schmidt took the “semi-autonomous car” (SAM) for a spin during demonstration days at the Indy 500 in May. Loucif thinks this is only the beginning of the road for how the technology can be deployed to help others.