650-HP bolide steered by movements of the head and slowed down by taking a breath
Is it really possible to drive a Corvette ZR06 simply by moving one’s head? Sam Schmidt, a former Indy-car 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.
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.
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.
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-and-steering system, Space Drive II.
The task of Paravan was, i.e., the implementation of an innovative control sensor and driving system in close cooperation with Arrow Industry. Moreover, the project vehicle was equipped with the Paravan Space Drive II system multi-redundant and road-certified drive-by-wire system for a fully fail-safe control of the primary functions of throttle, brake and steering of the vehicle. The Paravan system is certified to ISO 26262 ASIL D and has a road certification according to ECE R10, ECE R 13 and ECE R 79. The heart of the Paravan drive-by-wire technology is the CPU head module and is manufactured according to the most stringent international quality standards of IPC 600A.
For the automatic gear selection, an optimized Gear Control by Paravan is integrated into the center console. For easy control of the secondary vehicle functions, Voice Control from Paravan was installed in the Corvette. It can be controlled via short voice commands for function of the indicators, lights, or the windows. The core of this operating system is the Paravan Gateway that is connected via CAN to the vehicle and transmits the commands of the voice control to the vehicle for execution. The connection between the sensor and the performing drive-by-wire system forms an additional computer unit that was developed by Arrow Industry. The connection to this unit was made by Paravan in Aichelau, Germany.