Anki Drive – the tiny, iOS controlled AI-powered race cars that first hit the market with a bang in 2013 – is taking their real-life racing to the next level, with Anki Overdrive, which includes new customizable tracks, and hot new cars with new abilities.
Underneath the plastic shells of Anki’s tiny toy cars are simple electronics pulling off some not-so-simple feats of artificial intelligence. They race just millimeters apart, without crashing, while a smartphone app adjusts their speed or position on track to respond to the way each driver is racing.
The Anki second-generation of cars and tracks takes this to the next level, with modular tracks that you can setup any way you’d like, even including bridges, banked turns, and… Drum roll please… Jumps!
Users can set up the tracks in any layout they’d like, using the new Overdrive starter kit that will sell for $150. The new kit will include 10 track pieces and two cars. Other expansion track section packs will sell for $10 to $30, and will include pieces allow players to build out jumps, intersections and banked turns.
The first time Overdrive cars race along a customized route, they map it out and memorize it in real time, so they know exactly where they’re going the next time around.
The Overdrive cars include all the tricks of the original cars – such as virtual missiles, and guns to knock the other cars out of the race – but they also boast new features, such as performing slingshot moves, u-turns, and jumps.
The new cars, which go on sale this September, are the cars the company dreamed of making when it launched a few years back, but couldn’t.
“We always wanted to make customizable tracks and cars this smart, but we didn’t how to build all that until recently,” said Hanns Tappeiner, Anki’s co-founder and president.
Overdrive features include the cars’ ability to “level up” with new abilities, storylines that will include in-game tournaments, and more. The cars themselves will have more of a personality, with more distinctive driving styles than the cars in the first-generation Anki Drive.
The new cars are hand-painted, with detailed graphics, sporting metallic colors.
Don’t worry if you’ve already bought into Anki’s robotic racing world, any Anki Drive cars you already have will work just fine with the new Overdrive modular layouts.