Nevada man paralyzed in IndyCar crash gets first autonomous vehicle license

LAS VEGAS (KGO) -- It was a huge day for both self-driving technology and people with limited mobility, as a quadriplegic and former race car driver became the first in the nation to receive a special kind of driver's license. On Wednesday, Sam Schmidt received Nevada's first-ever autonomous vehicle driver's license and immediately took his specially built car for a thrilling ride on a Las Vegas track.

"You know, 15 years ago I figured I was done driving on the street forever, but now anything's possible," said Schmidt.

Schmidt was an IndyCar racer until a violent crash left him paralyzed from the neck down. He is now a team owner and this car has put him back in the driver's seat. He breathes into a tube to accelerate and blows out to break. Cameras track his head movement and relay that to the tires for turning.

Schmidt's license comes with a few restrictions -- it's only valid in Nevada, there has to be a pilot car ahead, and he needs a licensed driver ready to take control if needed.

Schmidt is good with that, and a moment between him and Nevada Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison gives you a glimpse into the former race car driver's character.

When Hutchinson handed him the license on Wednesday Schmidt said, "What happens when I get pulled over and the officer says 'Can I see your hands?'"
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