By Jordan Joynt updated on 10/24/2013
The Anki team will be taking a new approach to typical slot car racing games with the release of Anki Drive (Free). The project was originally conceived by a group of PhD students in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.
Anki CEO Boris Sofman demonstrated the car's ability to steer around the track at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference "by doing the same computations your brain does when you drive." By focusing on steering, sensors, and controls software, Anki was able to engineer a different kind of racing experience.
What separates Anki Drive from other slot car racing games is the use of robotics and artificial intelligence to create a "video game brought to life in the real world." Using sensors and intelligent software, each car is able to make thousands of decisions every second.
The iOS platform is not only used as a remote control, but also adjusts the car's decision making via Bluetooth. The track itself features encoded information which records each car's speed and position.
The cars are equipped with multiple sensors, as well as a camera, to collect data about 500 times per second. The sensors keep the car on the track and corresponds with the software to make quick decisions regarding speed and steering.
Every car has its own discernable "personality," bringing different attributes and weapons to the game. The cars, named "Boson," "Kourai," "Rho," and "Katal," are also upgradeable to fit your particular style of gameplay.
"Boson" and "Kourai" are included in the starter kit ($200), while "Rho" and "Katal" are sold separately, starting October 23. Anki Drive is compatible with iPhone 4s and up, the iPod touch (fifth generation onward), the iPad (third-gen or above), and the iPad mini.