The Anki Drive: A “Smart” Car that’s Worth a Try

Last updated: July 1, 2020.

The Anki Drive

Anki was first released for iOS in 2013 and finally came to the Android platform in the latter part of 2014. Anki Drive is one of those “toys-for-the-boys” that targets to bring artificial intelligence to gaming, and costs a whopping $150. Yep, $150 for a car set.


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The Anki Drive Set

The $150 Anki Drive set has a 3.5ft by 8.5ft vinyl oval track and two cars. The track has a pattern underneath the surface that can be detected only through infrared while the two cars both have an infrared and a bottom camera which can be read by the pattern under the track. Data gathered from this is sent to a connected phone via Bluetooth so that the user can coordinate the action. The data is acquired by the two cars 500 times each second.


How to play Anki Drive

The game rules of Anki Drive are simple:

  1. Install the Anki app to your device
  2. Place the cars at the start line.
  3. Pair one car to your device and the other car to your opponent’s device. But if you’re playing solo, just pair both cars to one device.
  4. The Anki app will allow you to activate the defensive and offensive capabilities of your car that, like other well-known games, can be upgraded through experience points. The action happens in a virtual setting.

The game controls are also easy; all you have to do is tilt your device left or right to control the movement of the car. A throttle slider is also available for you to adjust your speed. The rest are up to the AI.

The goal of the game is to (virtually) damage the other car so that the car would be “dead” for a few seconds and give you sufficient advantage on the track to reach the finish line.

The verdict

Bluetooth pairing in the Anki Drive is easy and problem-free. The cars can also manage a slight collision – while it can affect your winning, the car itself can recover quite fast – can also react to obstacles. It’s like a smart toy car. The cars have a “victory lap” after a race then parks to the pit area of the track. That is smart.

The only downside is that the cars’ battery drains easily: only about a half-hour of life and you’d have to charge it again.

On another note, be sure that your device is supported by Anki Drive before dropping that $150. An additional car costs $50. It’s expensive, but it’s definitely fun. It’s worth a try.

Have you considered buying one yet? Share with us what you think by commenting below!



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