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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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First introduced at WWDC, Anki's iOS-controlled AI-based racing game is set to debut later this month. Unlike standard racing toys, Anki Drive is largely self-operating and is described by the company as a "video game in the real world." The concept is similar to slot car racing, with added enhancements that include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smartphone-based controls.

The Anki cars are placed on a specially designed vinyl track and connect to an iPhone with Bluetooth-LE. Using software and tiny cameras, the cars calibrate their positions on the track and handle steering on their own. Players control the gas and the guns using an iPhone and the Anki Drive app, shooting at other cars on the track to score the highest number of hits.

ankidrive2.jpg
Hits translate to points, and points can be used to both upgrade cars and weapons. Each of the Anki Drive cars has its own unique name, personality, and statistics, with some offering greater acceleration speeds while others have more energy. Engadget went hands-on with the Anki Drive and has a description of the gameplay:
As soon as you're done, you can simply set the cars on the track and away they'll zoom; there's no need for you to hit an accelerate button at all. Indeed, the cars will even know just where to turn. We wanted to see if we could mess it up, so we picked up a car and turned it the other way around to see what would happen. The answer: It just flipped around and went back on the right direction.

So if the cars can drive themselves, what do they need you for? Well, you can affect the race by tilting the phone either left or right to force it to make a wider or sharper turn. There are also special weapons you can deploy if you're in a competition - a couple of starter ones include a tractor beam to slow down an opponent and a gun that you can use to mow them down afterward.
Anki Drive has several different gameplay modes, including a multiplayer mode that allows several players to compete against one another and a single player mode where one of the cars is controlled through AI. Each of the Anki Drive cars has its own name, personality, and statistics, with some offering greater acceleration speeds while others have more energy. No car can be fully upgraded to match the others, which makes each one unique.

ankidrive.jpg
Anki Drive will be available in the United States and Canada on Apple's website and in retail stores beginning on October 23. Each bundle, which includes two cars, chargers, and a race track, retails for $199. Two additional cars can be purchased for $69 each.

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

Article Link: Anki Drive AI-Controlled Cars Will Be Available on October 23 for $199
 

ghost187

macrumors 6502a
Mar 18, 2010
965
2,042
I actually check the AppStore every few months to see if it got released without me knowing #
 

eoblaed

macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2010
2,734
2,381
It'd be cool if they could adapt to extended tracks. Then you could have tournaments with your cars/weapons upgrading throughout the event.
 

pgiguere1

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2009
2,161
1,127
Montreal, Canada
Pretty cool concept but for $200 with only two cars I doubt it will sell well...

At that price as a kid I'd rather have an Xbox 360, PS3 or Nexus 7, which I'd likely use for much longer, not just as a novelty/demoware.
 

Amacfa

macrumors 68000
May 22, 2009
1,895
4,120
D.C.
what's with these comments? What is this, the 1st Gen iPhone launch? I say test out the product and see how it feels first before cracking on the price.
 

Tech198

macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
15,916
2,148
Australia, Perth
Looks like a toy....

I saw this at WWDC event this AI stuff

Maybe i'm missing something, but these look the typical remote controlled cars i as a kid on a trace track, but instead have camera bult in so they can steel by themselves without a remote....


Whats the practical use for these in the real world ? or this is all they do?
 

Vanilla35

macrumors 68040
Apr 11, 2013
3,344
1,442
Washington D.C.
Looks like a toy....

I saw this at WWDC event this AI stuff

Maybe i'm missing something, but these look the typical remote controlled cars i as a kid on a trace track, but instead have camera bult in so they can steel by themselves without a remote....


Whats the practical use for these in the real world ? or this is all they do?

I've pretty much been wondering the same thing myself. I wouldn't knock the price for what it is (there was probably a decent amount of R&D that went into it). But I'm highly curious as to what the target audience of this product is hah. It definitely seems too high priced to be like any other toy. Besides people over the age of 20 who like model train sets (and other things like this) I don't know who else they'd sell it to
 

applefan69

macrumors 6502a
Oct 9, 2007
587
246
Alberta
I believe the main novelty point beyond simple remote controlled cars is that there is a digital intelligence in these cars.

It seems they have a game where cars shoot missiles at one and another, and the computer keeps track of hits and misses. Seems it is an impressive piece of technology.

However it is also simply a toy, that while cool is hard to justify, expecially ON TOP of the cost of the idevice.
 

CausticPuppy

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2012
1,483
18
Pretty cool concept but for $200 with only two cars I doubt it will sell well...

At that price as a kid I'd rather have an Xbox 360, PS3 or Nexus 7, which I'd likely use for much longer, not just as a novelty/demoware.

Some people will buy it for a Christmas gift.... And it'll be neat for a few days but ultimately these things will just end up in storage on top of the Wii Fit.
 

EricTheHalfBee

Suspended
Mar 10, 2013
467
739
Do you know what would be awesome?

RC cars controlled via bluetooth
They already have those. And compared to the Anki stuff they are Fisher Price.

Looks like a toy....

I saw this at WWDC event this AI stuff

Maybe i'm missing something, but these look the typical remote controlled cars i as a kid on a trace track, but instead have camera bult in so they can steel by themselves without a remote....
You are missing a lot. These cars have an onboard processor that links up with your iPhone over BT LE and between the two of them allows the cars to function by themselves (AI). The cars are almost like role-playing characters. You earn points to spend on upgrades changing the character of the car and what it's capable of. Different cars have different characters and will react differently to the same situations they encounter on the track. You can take your "upgraded" car to a friends and try it out against their car.

The cars can function completely by themselves following a set of rules and objectives related to choices you've made. You can also control them yourself by making some of the decisions during gameplay.

Think of how many people there are who build Sumobots to "fight" each other. From what I've seen these Anki cars are more complex/capable than most Sumobots. When you think of the cost and compare it to a Sumobot suddenly they don't seem that expensive at all.
 

pgiguere1

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2009
2,161
1,127
Montreal, Canada
it says two additional cars for 69$

does not say 69$ each, and certainaly does not say 79$

It's unclear from that sentence if MacRumors meant $69 each or for the two, but The Verge's article which seems to be a lot more complete makes it clear that it's $69 each (assuming they're not wrong).
 
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