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Old Apr 16, 2014, 11:00 AM   #1
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'Anki Drive' AI-Based Slot Car Racing Game Gains New Cars and Tracks




Anki today announced the debut of two new cars and two new tracks for its iPhone-compatible Anki Drive slot car racing game. Joining the existing four cars are Hadion and Corax, new characters that focus on speed and weaponry, respectively.

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Designed by Anki and Hollywood legend Harald Belker, Corax and Hadion are the newest characters available for Anki DRIVE. Hadion is built for speed and is the only car that can access Turbo Boost, which enables you to fly incredibly fast down the track. Corax is the ultimate warrior, with the option to mount multiple weapons. Watch out, he's an aggressive one!
First introduced in 2013 during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Anki Drive is a unique racing game that Anki describes as a "video game in the real world." Similar to slot car racing, Anki Drive incorporates artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smartphone-based controls, allowing two players to shoot at one another while their cars autonomously race down a vinyl track.

Each of Anki's cars have their own unique name, personality, look, and statistics. While some of them offer greater acceleration speeds, others have more energy or better weaponry. The two released today expand on the abilities of the existing cars, offering Turbo Boost (Hadrion) and multiple mounted weapons (Corax).

Along with the new cars, Anki is also introducing two new tracks: Crossroads and Bottleneck. Crossroads offers hard corners and a challenging intersection that requires solid timing and maneuvering skills, while Bottleneck introduces a bottleneck shape that must be overcome.

There's also a brand new Race Mode in the Anki Drive app, which joins the existing Battle Mode. Weaponry is still available and the goal is to make it to the finish line first, beating out other players or AI-controlled cars.

Anki's new cars can both be purchased today from the Anki website for $69.99 each, and the new tracks will be available on May 6 for $99. The original Anki starter kit can also be purchased from the Anki website for $199.

The accompanying Anki Drive app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Article Link: 'Anki Drive' AI-Based Slot Car Racing Game Gains New Cars and Tracks
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 11:10 AM   #2
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Maybe it's just me but I don't see a market for this. The technology is cool and impressive indeed but only so many adults wanting to geek out over iOS will want to buy this. Kids has hot wheels already and don't need a phone to begin to dictate their imagination. If kids wanna slowly race, I'd imagine they already have a video game system and mountains of toys nearby.

Not interested in this, just like how I got over it seconds after seeing it introduced during the keynote.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 11:51 AM   #3
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For how much??

$69 for a car? Wow, I could buy like FOUR Tyco slot car kits for that, in 1985.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 11:51 AM   #4
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Surprised they haven't licensed themes yet - F1, consumer cars, Star Wars etc.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 12:10 PM   #5
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"Anki Drive" aka the most awkward presentation segment of a keynote in recent history...
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 12:15 PM   #6
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This seems a lot like a hybrid car - you took two things that worked fine alone and merged them together to make something that inherited the flaws of both with little to show for it.

Gas engine + electric engine = ... the sum of the parts. You have the underwhelming power of a small electric engine with the inconveniences of maintaining a gas engine.

Hot wheels + video game = crazy expensive toy cars whose only value is that they can act out a racing game that's lacking in content (if you dish out $680, you get 3 tracks and 6 cars. I can't think of any other racing game that has so little content nor any other game that costs even 1/8th of that price. Heck, there are very few toys that cost half of that).
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 01:00 PM   #7
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Why is everybody so pessimistic? It's pretty cool technology and just a bit of fun. Stop being so miserable.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 01:12 PM   #8
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These forums are strange. You'd think they would be visited by people who actually interested by innovative applications of technology like Bluetooth, artificial intelligence and emerging wireless game platforms.

What you get instead is a bunch of luddites who, from an apparent lack of disposable income, feel the need to make disparaging comments on an internet forum. Not only that, they'd rather not see the company that innovated succeed by charging for more than a cast-iron toy car made in China...

Please...

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Originally Posted by ArtOfWarfare View Post
Hot wheels + video game = crazy expensive toy cars whose only value is that they can act out a racing game that's lacking in content (if you dish out $680, you get 3 tracks and 6 cars. I can't think of any other racing game that has so little content nor any other game that costs even 1/8th of that price. Heck, there are very few toys that cost half of that).
If you watched the keynote and/or actually read this MR article, Anki incorporates some very advanced AI and machine learning concepts which are pushing the envelopes and even the understanding of what constitutes a "video game." This is nothing like a mechanized hot wheels track, at all.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 01:36 PM   #9
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These Quads Drone Me Outta Business!!

I think these guys need to start sinking their money and computer controlled ideas into quadcopters and drones. Once these flying units start hitting the markets in massive quantities, nobody will want to play around with ground driven cars on 2D racetracks when they can fly these aerial bots all over town!

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Old Apr 16, 2014, 01:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Demon Hunter View Post
If you watched the keynote and/or actually read this MR article, Anki incorporates some very advanced AI and machine learning concepts which are pushing the envelopes and even the understanding of what constitutes a "video game." This is nothing like a mechanized hot wheels track, at all.
I read the article and watched the keynote and the AI doesn't strike me as much. Plenty of people have written AIs as intelligent as this and put them in video games several years ago. Guess how much those video games went for? The same as every other video game. Those games had vastly more content than Anki does, but we'll pretend they don't and say that from a video game perspective, it's fair to just say that normal video games cost $60 while Anki costs $680. Now throw in the fact it includes a physical toy component, too. Nice playmate are about $100 and I can get myself a nice RC car for $30.

Six cars + 3 playmate + 1 game = $540
Anki with similar stuff = $680

So there you go, it costs $140 more to get the inferior product from Anki.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 02:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by keysofanxiety View Post
Why is everybody so pessimistic? It's pretty cool technology and just a bit of fun. Stop being so miserable.
I think the one thing people are not saying, is the price. It sure it's creative and cool. But I'm sorry it is not $69 or $200, cool. Try to sell it for $50-$100 for the entire kit maybe people will actually buy in.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 02:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by aajeevlin View Post
I think the one thing people are not saying, is the price. It sure it's creative and cool. But I'm sorry it is not $69 or $200, cool. Try to sell it for $50-$100 for the entire kit maybe people will actually buy in.
You have a point, but boy do MacRumours' members love to moan. So negative all the time, it's depressing. Cheer up, guys.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 03:07 PM   #13
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I wish the cars looked better
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 03:27 PM   #14
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Seems a little pricy for the expansion tracks considering you have to also buy the starter kit. Car's I can see being expensive, but not sure what is driving the cost of the tracks. Only thing that I can see is the R&D time to program for the new tracks.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 03:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aajeevlin View Post
...It sure it's creative and cool. But I'm sorry it is not $69 or $200, cool to me...
Fixed that for you.

Seriously, if you don't know how much is going into these things, then you don't really have room to complain. If the price doesn't fit your needs, fine.

I knew some guys when I was in high school that did RC racing with some seriously custom, gas powered cars. They would put in a couple of hours prep time before each race, plus probably $10 in gas. Then, if there was a wreck, which it seemed like happened in 2 out of 3 races, they'd have $100+ in repair work! plus the hours of repair time to get their cars back into racing form, and that didn't include the times that they simply decided to scrap their cars for parts and buy a new $300+ car.

You can pretty quickly find a lot of examples of spending a lot of money for something that doesn't seem worth it to you (don't even get me started on how much guys I knew in college were spending every week on beer), but that doesn't mean that it isn't worth it to someone else.

Personally, I think that this is a pretty cool union of computer and RC tech. I'd rather see my son playing with this than playing a video game.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 04:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by HappyDude20 View Post
Maybe it's just me but I don't see a market for this. The technology is cool and impressive indeed but only so many adults wanting to geek out over iOS will want to buy this.
Why does it need anything more than that?

No one is expecting this to be in every house. You may as well tell Wacom not to bother, since most people won't want a tablet input device.

As long as they make more money than they spend, and people get a chance to buy and enjoy the product, what's the problem?

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Kids has hot wheels already and don't need a phone to begin to dictate their imagination. If kids wanna slowly race, I'd imagine they already have a video game system and mountains of toys nearby.
I'm not aware of anything about this product that precludes using other toys and apps.

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Not interested in this, just like how I got over it seconds after seeing it introduced during the keynote.
And there it is. Instead of just being content with not wanting it yourself, you seem compelled to tell everyone else why no one should want it.

----------

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Originally Posted by erinsarah View Post
$69 for a car? Wow, I could buy like FOUR Tyco slot car kits for that, in 1985.
How is that even an argument?

How many AI-powered cars could you buy in 1985?

I mean, hell, an iPhone for $399? I could buy SIX Panasonic cordless phones in 1988 for that!
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 05:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Snowy_River View Post
Fixed that for you.

Seriously, if you don't know how much is going into these things, then you don't really have room to complain. If the price doesn't fit your needs, fine.

I knew some guys when I was in high school that did RC racing with some seriously custom, gas powered cars. They would put in a couple of hours prep time before each race, plus probably $10 in gas. Then, if there was a wreck, which it seemed like happened in 2 out of 3 races, they'd have $100+ in repair work! plus the hours of repair time to get their cars back into racing form, and that didn't include the times that they simply decided to scrap their cars for parts and buy a new $300+ car.

You can pretty quickly find a lot of examples of spending a lot of money for something that doesn't seem worth it to you (don't even get me started on how much guys I knew in college were spending every week on beer), but that doesn't mean that it isn't worth it to someone else.

Personally, I think that this is a pretty cool union of computer and RC tech. I'd rather see my son playing with this than playing a video game.

I can assure you that I have full appreciation of this "type" of thing. Having an engineering degree background as well as having developed hardware myself. But for the money they are charing, most of the computer or RC tech I know would rather build one themselves. True techie loves to build things on their own, they rather not having somebody else build their toys for them. Sure I'll admit that it is also too expensive of my taste. But I'll have to tell you that they, just like most of the iOS device hardware developer these days; are very good at riding the iDevice wave and know how to jack up the price.

If you'd like to see your son play with something that's "actually" going to challenge him to write program and think logically. I'd actually recommend Lego Mindstorm (if money isn't a issue), or simply spend $100 to get the Arduino board plus everything else you need. << this is how you actually learn.

Last edited by aajeevlin; Apr 16, 2014 at 05:22 PM.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 06:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by aajeevlin View Post
<< this is how you actually learn.
Okay, but what if the kid doesn’t want to spend their childhood learning how to be a hardware of software engineer? What if they just wanted, you know, a toy?
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 07:47 PM   #19
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Okay, but what if the kid doesn’t want to spend their childhood learning how to be a hardware of software engineer? What if they just wanted, you know, a toy?
By all means, order the kid the toy.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 07:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by aajeevlin View Post
True techie loves to build things on their own, they rather not having somebody else build their toys for them.
Rubbish. There's all kinds. Quite trying to redefine words centered around yourself.

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If you'd like to see your son play with something that's "actually" going to challenge him to write program and think logically. I'd actually recommend Lego Mindstorm (if money isn't a issue), or simply spend $100 to get the Arduino board plus everything else you need. << this is how you actually learn.
Or how about people buy things they like, and you buy things you like?

This idea that you have to do things your way or they aren't a "true techie" or aren't going to learn, explore, or enjoy themselves, is nonsense.

C'mon now!
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 08:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ArtOfWarfare View Post
This seems a lot like a hybrid car - you took two things that worked fine alone and merged them together to make something that inherited the flaws of both with little to show for it.

Gas engine + electric engine = ... the sum of the parts. You have the underwhelming power of a small electric engine with the inconveniences of maintaining a gas engine.
McLaren P1 and Porsche 918!
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 10:41 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by xPad View Post
Rubbish. There's all kinds. Quite trying to redefine words centered around yourself.


Or how about people buy things they like, and you buy things you like?

This idea that you have to do things your way or they aren't a "true techie" or aren't going to learn, explore, or enjoy themselves, is nonsense.

C'mon now!
Okay, sure.

Last edited by aajeevlin; Apr 16, 2014 at 10:56 PM.
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Old Apr 16, 2014, 10:41 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by bacaramac View Post
Seems a little pricy for the expansion tracks considering you have to also buy the starter kit. Car's I can see being expensive, but not sure what is driving the cost of the tracks. Only thing that I can see is the R&D time to program for the new tracks.
This. Am I missing something here on what goes into the tracks? They just look like a sheet of plastic with the pattern of a track printed on them. Are they more than that?

Otherwise the cars seem a little on the pricy side, but not completely outrageous. I do agree that people around here do tend to act as if someone just asked them to sell their kidney if something costs more than $20.
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Old Apr 17, 2014, 12:36 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtOfWarfare View Post
This seems a lot like a hybrid car - you took two things that worked fine alone and merged them together to make something that inherited the flaws of both with little to show for it.

Gas engine + electric engine = ... the sum of the parts. You have the underwhelming power of a small electric engine with the inconveniences of maintaining a gas engine.

Hot wheels + video game = crazy expensive toy cars whose only value is that they can act out a racing game that's lacking in content (if you dish out $680, you get 3 tracks and 6 cars. I can't think of any other racing game that has so little content nor any other game that costs even 1/8th of that price. Heck, there are very few toys that cost half of that).
Tell that to the Mclaren P1 and Porsche 918!
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Old Apr 17, 2014, 02:56 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aajeevlin View Post
I can assure you that I have full appreciation of this "type" of thing. Having an engineering degree background as well as having developed hardware myself. But for the money they are charing, most of the computer or RC tech I know would rather build one themselves. True techie loves to build things on their own, they rather not having somebody else build their toys for them. Sure I'll admit that it is also too expensive of my taste. But I'll have to tell you that they, just like most of the iOS device hardware developer these days; are very good at riding the iDevice wave and know how to jack up the price.

If you'd like to see your son play with something that's "actually" going to challenge him to write program and think logically. I'd actually recommend Lego Mindstorm (if money isn't a issue), or simply spend $100 to get the Arduino board plus everything else you need. << this is how you actually learn.
As someone with a bachelor's degree in engineering, a masters degree in physics, experience with machine design as well as toy design, I, too, know something about this.

Have you done a tear down? Have you seen their code? Do you know what they've actually put into this product to make it what it is?

From what I've seen, this isn't something that a "techie" could easily replicate, regardless of how much money said techie were willing to sink into it. That's not to say that there aren't fun things to scratch build and play with...

As for the question of what my son will or won't play with, I would not put this in the same category as Lego Mindstorm, home electronics test boards, home chemistry sets, etc. This is a game, a toy. It's not there for learning to program. What I was saying is that I'd rather my son, if he's going to play a game, play with something that is physical, not just something on a computer screen. I'm sure he'll be spending quite enough time in his life staring at a screen. If there's a game that allows him to have the fun of playing with the electronic device while still keeping him in the "real world", I can definitely see an advantage to that.

All of that said, the price is too high for me, at this point. Perhaps in the future, when their tech ages and becomes less expensive, the prices will drop so that it will be less of an upper-middle class + toy...
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