Posted on September 7, 2016
Hot Wheels AI Joins the Self-Driving Toy Car Market
A new member has just joined the self-Driving Toy Cars club, and it’s a brand name that Mississauga drivers might remember – Hot Wheels! Hot Wheels has been around for a long time, and although it outsourced the artificial intelligence for its new product, sources indicate there may be more surprises ahead from this innovative player that has buried a hidden USB port on all of its cars.
For $99 you can get outfitted with a starter set that comes with 20 pieces of track, two cars and two controllers. The cars are 1/32nd scale, so a lot bigger than a formerly familiar Hot Wheels car but it’s smaller than a remote-control car. Sensors read the grey track gradient to keep track of the cars’ positioning. You can steer it, or you can just sit back and watch all the fun. With a basic algorithm that instructs you to turn right when the track is too dark and turn right when the track is light, it’s enough to make your childhood self jealous!
You can either choose to steer a car or put the cars in a robot mode where they'll just drive themselves around the track indefinitely. With different levels of difficulty, you can be in the advanced mode with the throttle half way pulled and do well, but if you go full speed you’ll probably glide right off the track. Your AI opponents, even at the highest difficulty level, never hit top speed so it's easy to dominate.
The mini Hot Wheels AI cars have a robot mode that lets them drive themselves right around the track and even give you the option of steering one of them. With varying levels of difficulty that alter how much the car steers itself and how fast it goes, there’s also an advanced mode that keeps you the winner against Artificial Intelligence opponents most of the time. It’s a lot of fun playing with other humans too, and you get enough control to actually feel like you’re really driving.
A more expensive of Hot Wheels AI is Anki Overdrive, that costs $149.99 compared to the $99 Hot Wheels starter set. Anki has AI-powered cars that either help you keep the cars on the track with your smartphone or drive by themselves while the tiny cars concentrate on racing. The Hot Wheels AI is not quite as sophisticated as that, but it’s a whole lot of fun and it has cars, just like you used to play with as a kid.