Racing car games have gone through many iterations over the years, going from small toys on plastic ramps, such as Hot Wheels, to video games with loud graphics and even louder music. Now, consumer robotics company Anki is bringing the two together, using artificial intelligence to create a video game that uses physical racing cars controlled by an app.
The toy kit, which goes on sale online and in Apple Stores for $199 on Oct. 23, includes a mat and two cars that run with the free app. The mat has sensors which ‘speak’ to miniature cameras on the bottom of the car, and no Wi-Fi is necessary because the app is linked to the cars through Bluetooth Low Energy. With the game, you can race cars against other friends or race your car against an AI-controlled car.
The most amazing thing about Anki Drive is the level of intelligence the computer-controlled cars actually have. None of their movements are pre-preprogrammed — rather using the information from the sensors, which tell the position of each car, the toys can gauge whether to speed up or pass another opponent. Each car has its own character and special abilities that can be used to battle it out on the track.
The combination of physical and digital will surely make this one of the hottest toys this Christmas.