BOULDER, Colo., May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) today demonstrated new human performance technologies that help quadriplegic former IndyCar driver Sam Schmidt to safely drive a Corvette C7 'Stingray.'
Ball and the AFRL are collaborating on the initiative known as the SAM Project, standing for "semi-autonomous motorcar" with Arrow Electronics, Inc., Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports and Falci Adaptive Motorsports. The demonstration took place at an airstrip near the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. "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 led the creation of the human-machine interface and the driver guidance system that are key elements of the SAM Project. The Ball engineering team identified the driver's abilities and matched them to what is needed to drive the car. Critical to this process was determining the optimal combination of machine-controlled and human-controlled functions.