Corey Capece has never been able to move around without his wheelchair. He had never walked or, before Sunday afternoon, driven a car.
But Capece, a 30-year-old with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, did doughnuts and burnouts in a sports car south of Las Vegas. The smell of burning rubber hung in the air, and white smoke spilled from beneath the tires of the car, drifting over his parents as they recorded the stunts on their phones.
Capece was among 10 people with physical disabilities who got behind the wheel of Arrow Electronics’ Semi-Autonomous Motorcar, nicknamed “SAM,” on Sunday at SpeedVegas. The upgraded Corvette uses the driver’s head movements to steer and senses the air pressure from the mouth to stop and accelerate. SAM is programmed to ignore sneezes and spasms, a feature that is useful for people like Capece, whose symptoms include spasms.