Schmidt Peterson Motorsports co-owner Sam Schmidt made history on Wednesday by becoming the first American to be issued with an autonomous vehicle drivers licence.
Schmidt’s home state of Nevada issued the licence to the American who was paralyzed from the neck down following an accident while testing at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. In 2001, Schmidt formed SPM Racing who compete in both the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indy Lights programme.
In 2014, Schmidt collaborated with team partner Arrow Electronics with the SAM project which aimed and succeeded in putting Schmidt in the drivers seat.
In May 2016, Schmidt drove a modified 2016 Corvette Z06 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway reaching a speed of 152mph. Schmidt followed this up by making history by participating in the Pikes Peak hill climb. Speaking about Schmidt getting his licence, on NBC Sports, Nevada DMV officials stated:
Nevada is leading the nation in promoting autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technologies that can bring mobility and independence to people with physical disabilities, including our wounded warriors.
Speaking about the news, Schmidt stated:
This has been an incredible journey, What started as a hope and a dream to go one hundred miles per hour has taken on a life of its own. Quickly changing technology no different than advances in cell phones have allowed us to compete on road courses, go 152 miles per hour at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year and complete the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. These were all ridiculous thoughts three years ago.
“Getting a drivers license is not the end of the road, but it is the ultimate example to tell the world you can absolutely accomplish anything, if you combine resources with the right group committed to a common cause. It has truly been a life changing experience for me and my family.