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Sam Schmidt Takes Jay Leno for a Whirl in His C7 Corvette Z06

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Many people admire Sam Schmidt’s gumption for getting back behind the wheel after a fateful crash paralyzed him from the neck down back in 2000. However, his latest gesture of letting Jay Leno ride in his customized C7 Corvette Z06 deserves just as much of a head nod.


Schmidt’s C7 Corvette Z06 came from advanced tech company Arrow Technologies. The model is fine-tuned to respond to his body’s cues. He steers the car via the car’s infrared cameras that communicate with special sunglasses that he wears while driving. Depending on which direction his head moves, the cameras trigger the car to move in that direction. Inhaling or exhaling into a tube signals the car to brake or to accelerate, respectively. Schmidt praised his car as “one thing that he can control” and something that has given him an “overwhelming sense of normalcy” the past 18 years.

During the test drive, Jay Leno asked Schmidt more about his car’s mechanics. He asked Schmidt if he ever ran out of breath, since the car relies so heavily on breathing cues. Besides a high altitudes 19-mile trek on Colorado’s Pike’s Peak, Schmidt said that usually doesn’t happen. Leno also learned that the ‘vette is sneeze-proof. If Schmidt sneezes, Arrow Technologies’ customized software suppresses the sudden pressure peak so the car doesn’t get a false signal.


Some Chevy Corvette owners won’t let strangers ride in their streamlined “babies,” never mind a Corvette that contains as many high-tech specs and personalized features as Schmidt’s does. We applaud Schmidt not just for his staunch perseverance, but for his exemplary generosity in allowing a stranger (even a famous one like Jay Leno) to ride the special car that empowers him with such potent freedom.

Source: GM Authority