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Paravan-System enables 650 PS bolides to be steered by a movement of the head and braked down by a breath of air

In spite of a severe degree of paraplegia, a former US Indy-car pilot is back behind the wheel of a racing car modified by Paravan and Arrow Electronics. New speed record at the Indy 500.

Is it really possible to drive a Corvette ZR06 simply by moving one’s head? Sam Schmidt, a former Indycar driver who became a paraplegic when he had a severe accident during a race, says yes you can. Ultramodern technology from the USA and Germany makes it possible. In a cooperative project by the US electronics experts at Arrow Industries and the Swabian drive-by-wire specialists at Paravan, a Corvette ZR06 is converted and reconstructed so that Sam Schmidt can control the 650-HP racing car safely around a racetrack by means of minute head movements.

How does that work? Multiple camera sensors in the cockpit and infrared measuring points on Schmidt’s head digitalize each movement of the head to the left or right and pass the data on to a control center integrated by Arrow, a so-called motion-tracking system. The signals are processed together with the car data by means of special software and passed on the Paravan Space-Drive II head module. This second CPU then sends the signals to steering motors with multiple redundancy which carry out the corresponding steering commands. Acceleration and braking take place by means of a specially developed mouthpiece with an integrated pressure sensor. This sensor registers whether Schmidt sucks in air via the mouthpiece (braking takes place), or blows air through it (similar to a whistle) – causing the vehicle to accelerate. The changes in pressure are also sent to the CPUs, recalculated and then sent to servomotors on the accelerator and brakes via the Space Drive head module.

To ensure that even at speeds beyond 200 km/h nothing happens, the Paravan system is certified in compliance with the strictest world-wide safety standard: ISO 26262 ASIL D. Paravan takes no risks in production and has the system manufactured exclusively according to the most stringent quality standard, IPC 600 A, comparable to the production of a cardiac pacemaker. The goal: 100 per cent reliability.

The sensor technology and its processing have been developed in the US by Arrow. The experts from Aichelau in Swabia install the sensors and connect the Arrow technology to the Paravan drive-andsteering system, Space Drive II.

Meanwhile the Paravan Space Drive technology is used by numerous international vehicle manufacturers as fail-safe and street-legal drive-by-wire platform for autonomous and semi-autonomous driving.

The innovative vehicle celebrated its public premiere last Sunday at this year’s Indy 500 in Indianapolis. The modified vehicle immediately achieved a new speed record of 152 mph (244 km/h) on the Oval. Further show venues are, among others, Detroit Grand Prix (3. - 5. June 2016) and the traditional Pikes Peak International mountain race (23. - 26. June 2016). The vehicle will be coming to Germany in October and November with presentation dates in Hockenheim and the Electronica Fair in Munich.

Further dates:

1. Detroit Grand Prix (June 3-5)

2. Pikes Peak International (June 23-26) / (June 10 Video)

3. Boston Grand Prix (September 2-4)

4. Sonoma Grand Prix (September 16-18)

5. Hockenheim (October 2016)

6. Electronica, Munich (November 8-11) 

A video of Sam's speed record is available


The first international press releases are online


Further interesting information on the Paravan homepage 



Paravan GmbH is the world leader in innovative automobile conversions for drivers with severe disabilities. Since 1998, Paravan founder Roland Arnold has developed new and innovative products in the area of handicapped mobility. Approximately 150 employees individually develop and produce custom adaptive driving products. These include automobile conversions, power wheelchairs, exercise training machines, seating solutions, ramp systems, wheelchair loading systems and hand devices. Paravan’s drive-by-wire system is road certified according to ISO 262 ASIL D and is assembled with a world class quality level IPC-A-600 Class C standard. Worldwide, Paravan has accumulated over 120 million kilometers of experience during the past 10 years which supports new technology for the ongoing improvement of Space Drive II. Using an active redundancy steering and gas/brake system with multiple relevant safety backups, Space Drive is now being used in vehicles world-wide. This modern technology is the cornerstone for the future of autonomous driving.

Arrow Electronics is a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions, with 2015 sales of $23.28 billion. Arrow serves as a supply channel partner for over 100,000 original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers and commercial customers through a global network of more than 460 locations serving over 85 countries. A Fortune 150 company with 18,500 employees worldwide, Arrow brings technology solutions to a breadth of markets, including telecommunications, information systems, transportation, medical, industrial and consumer electronics. Arrow provides specialized services and expertise across the product lifecycle. Arrow does this by connecting customers to the right technology at the right place at the right time and at the right price. Arrow provides extraordinary value to customers and suppliers - the best technology companies in the world - and connects them through the company's industry-leading services.