Jonathan Gitlin

WASHINGTON—We’ve been for rides in quite a few autonomous cars of late, but today was something a little more special.

Today, we went for a ride in Project SAM—short for Semi Autonomous Motorcar.
It all started back in 2000, when a promising racing career was cut short as a pre-season crash left Sam Schmidt paralyzed from the neck down.
In the decade-plus since, Schmidt has gotten on with his life, and he now runs a successful IndyCar team.

But as a quadriplegic, he’s been dependent on others for many things you or I take for granted—except driving, that is.
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