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CNET First Look
Rule the racetrack with Anki OverdriveBuild your own modular racetrack for these app-controlled cars.
Are you ready for the next thing in smart race cars? I'm Dan Ackerman, and we're here taking a look at Anki Overdrive. If you've heard of Anki before, that's because they brought out an earlier version of this system at one of Apple's WWDC Conferences back in 2013, and you showed you an iPhone controlling a race car going around a track. Very cool stuff. But it was one static tack and sort of a first generation toy. This new version works with iOS and with Android, still has the same sort of remote control cars that you steer with your iPhone or your Android phone. The big difference now is that the track is completely modular. You can buy this starter kit here for about $150. That includes two cars, a charger for the cars, and a bunch of different tracks. You can buy extra track pieces. And you just put them together like this. They snap together magnetically. And then you can take them apart and put them back together any way you want. There's all sorts of shapes you can make. Of course you can buy extra tracks too if you want to make a more elaborate setup. Now Hidden under the pattern here is some code that the car sees that you can't see it but the cars see. And that let's the electric eye in the cars see where the track is. Stay on the track and not go flying off anywhere. So you don't do too much of the steering. The cars do that automatically when you're using the iPhone app What you do is, you shift the cars from one side to the other. You can control whether they're on this side or this side like this, and also acceleration, whether it's going faster or slower. Go around a turn too fast, you could zoom right off. And of course, the cars, you can get up to four of them going at once They can race against each other. They have weapons built in that you basically use by tapping a button on the app and that causes the other cars nearby to sort of short out or spin out of control or get damaged so you can zip past them. You don't actually see them Shooting at each other in real life. Maybe that's the next version of AUGI. Set up is super easy, especially when it comes to putting the tracks together. Getting the app going and installing on the phones that you're gonna use and getting everybody into a game together, that's a little bit more complicated, a little bit of a learning curve there. And actually, most of the time you're gonna wanna skip most of the game modes and just do straight free racing with your friends. That seems like what this is built for. Now if you wanna get more involved with this, and get everybody playing, and build a very elaborate track, a little bit of investment is involved. This basic kit here is $150. You can buy extra track kits, and they break down to about $10 per section of track. And you get two cars here. If you wanna buy more cars, there are a couple more available. They're $49 each, but once you put it all together, you get everybody around, race around the pool table like we did, that is the onkey overdrive. [MUSIC]