Most of us, old or young, will have made silly engine noises while pretending to cars. It’s an act that probably represents the first sign of a mental health issue, but Nissan has designed a voice-controlled videogame that rewards such behaviour.
Known as the Voice Driver Cup, the game allows participants to drive a remote-controlled car around a Scalextrix-style race track. Rather than using buttons on a hand controller, however, the cars go faster or slower in response to how loudly you shout into a related app on a mobile phone. Make a quiet engine noise and the cars will drive slowly. Do your best impression of a howling V12 and they’ll scream along in appropriate fashion.
The technology seems beautifully simple. Drivers shout into a mobile, the mobile assesses the volume level, and sends a wireless signal to a model car, which drives around a track on rails.
The only slight drawback to this control method is that the most successful candidates are those that are least shy about embarrassing themselves. Quiet, retiring types will finish up as the Voice Driver Cup equivalent of Narain Karthikayen, while more vocal participants are more likely to be the Alonsos and Vettels of the sport.
Nissan hosted the inaugural Voice Driver Grand Prix at its headquarters in Japan on Novemeber 17th, where just about anyone with a phone and a voice could take part. Have a look at the making-of video and the competition clips below and let us pray one day this is how ordinary road cars are controlled.