Anki is launching a cool truck expansion for its popular Anki Overdrive robotic cars. The new Anki Overdrive Supertrucks add a new dimension of play to racing around the track and shooting other cars off the road. They’re available today online and in stores.
Anki’s toys go a step beyond the old Hot Wheels and slot cars because they are app-controlled toys with enough artificial intelligence that they can drive themselves around a track. You can use the app to control actions, such taking over the truck and shooting rockets at other players’ cars.
The San Francisco company hopes that Overdrive’s latest trucks will further convince consumers that its A.I. — the product of more than six years of research before hitting the market — will deliver a high-end and continuously upgradeable experience for people who want more than just toy cars. To date, players have logged more than 3.4 million hours of gameplay and driven more than 2.3 million miles in the game. It was the No. 4 best-selling toy in the U.S. during the month of December 2015, according to the NPD Group, and it was the No. 3 best-selling toy under $100 for all of 2015, NPD said.
The first product that Anki launched in October 2013, Anki Drive, had an oval racetrack with sensors built into it. The track’s sensors could detect where the cars were at any given time, and the A.I. in the cars was smart enough to drive better than a human could. You controlled your own car with an iPhone, but rather than fully drive it with the touch screen, you could control the car’s speed and whether to fire its weapons at another car. The cars would all race around the track themselves, turning at the perfect time. Anki updated the product in 2015 with Anki Overdrive, which had a wider variety of racetracks with turns, intersections, and jumps.
Players have now created nearly 60,000 different track configurations. And whatever track you build, the Supercars learn how to drive it.
With the Supertrucks, Anki has created new battle rigs, Freewheel and X52, which are trucks that are nearly triple the size of other Anki Overdrive Supercars. The Supertrucks will also introduce powerful new weapons and game modes that will test players. The Freewheel and X52 are available in the U.S. for $60 starting today, October 3. A limited edition X52 Ice will be available exclusively at target. The trucks are also selling at Toys “R” Us, Target, and Amazon.
Hollywood car designer Harald Belker, whose work has appeared in films such as Minority Report, created the Supertrucks. Each truck comes with new weapon options, including X52’s exclusive “Pulse Ram” that blasts opponents off the track and Freewheel’s “Gravity Trap” that disables opponents’ Supercars, causing them to lose all control. The Supertruck is about three times the size of a current Anki Supercar.
In Takeover, one of the game modes, players start each match in their Supercars. Anyone that can break through a Supertruck’s defenses will take control of the vehicle to attack their opponents until another player disables them and takes command of the big rig. I had a lot of fun playing this mode with my kids, as it gives you something more engaging to do as you race around the track.
Anki Overdrive starter kits cost $150, and expansion cars cost $50. Founded in 2010 by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates, Anki creates consumer experiences using technology that was once confined to robotics labs and research institutes.