Love Scalextic? Well have a butchers’ at this next-gen driving toy, which could be a real rival to the family favourite. This is the Anki Drive, created by robots and artificial-intelligence company Anki. It allows up to four players to control a futuristic racer with their iPhone on a specially designed flat track mat. That’s right, there are no metal rails here.
The Anki Drive set is comprised of a specific iOS app, the aforementioned track mat and four unique toy cars designed by Harald Belker, the chap behind the 1996 Batmobile and the vehicles from Tron Legacy.
Thanks to clever artificial intelligence programming and technology built into the toy, each car knows where it is in relation to the competition, allowing the cars to drive themselves – so you can still play even if you don’t have any mates.
Each toy can be upgraded to change its performance and characteristics. By winning races, points are awarded that you can spend as you wish, for instance, improving top speed or upgrading Mario Kart-style weapons.
The idea is that your car will start to develop a character based on the upgrade path you choose. Opt for a weapons-centric approach and your car will develop the firepower to ruin your rival’s day. Cleverly, upgrades stick with your car, even if you take it to a friend’s house.
While a self-driving toy may sound pretty boring (Scalextric is fun because pushing a car too much can mean flying off the track) the iOS app does give you some control over the steering and when to fire weapons. Think of it as a cross between a video game and a toy.
Anki Drive will go on sale on October 23rd for US$199. For that, you get the 102-inch by 42-inch track mat and the Kourai and Boson cars. Each additional car costs US$69 and the iOS app is free. Sadly, you will have to trek to Canada or the US to buy a set, at least for now.
Scroll on down to see Anki Drive doing its thing.
Anki Drive images
Source and images: Engadget