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robot car

We all got at least one "slot car" on Christmas or our birthday at some point in our boyhood. They may have been wind-up cars that zoomed through a plastic chute. Also, how could we forget the thrill of turning the knob of the transformer just high enough to ensure maximum speed without derailing the electric slot car? Well, the slot car has just gotten a digital makeover.  It's called the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit, and it's reviving an old American pastime.

Comparison Table

What Is the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit?

There's certainly a lot of hype surrounding these somewhat magical self-driving cars. However, for most of our testers, the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit dazzle beyond expectations. It's a mix of digital and physical; old-school Christmas-worthy toy tradition and the latest in big-boy technology.  You know, the kind of technology that drives all your interconnected devices.

It's about time someone put it all together, and the geniuses at Anki have devised a gift-opening experience that, no matter what the occasion, is sure to leave a lasting impression on whoever has the privilege of opening the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit.  At least - until they're old enough to drive.  But, even if you do drive a real car, you'll be amazed at what the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit can do.

Technology That "Feels a Little More Human"

The Anki company, started by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute alumni, is dedicated to making Artificial Intelligence Technology accessible to everyone. Their mission is to "create robots that move you," and the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit fulfills this mission of making technology that "feels human."

How did they make a more personable robot in the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit? Well, as fascinating as the actual racing cars in the kit are, notably, each car has its own story, much like a character in a drama. Each car brings to a race (or "battle") its own strengths and weaknesses, much in the way that drivers in a NASCAR race bring their personalities to the race with them.

We'll be comparing the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit to some slot cars much like the kind most of us grew up with, but doing so is an injustice in some ways. As you keep reading, we trust you'll discover that the Anki Overdrive Battle and Rae Robotic Supercars Starter Kit is in a brand new class and category all of its own. As you watch your child drive one for the first time, don't be surprised if you find yourself wondering: "Why can't my car do that?"

Product Specs

3 Robots built from robotic kits

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

"Specs" don't do Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit justice. It's a phenomenon so far and above slot cars, it's difficult to describe, but we'll do our best here. We do need to caution you that these are some of the most addictive miniature, apparently self-driving vehicles you've ever encountered.

Self-Driving Cars

Much like the cars that Uber and Google are testing these days, the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit cars drive themselves.  Unlike Uber and Google cars, though, nobody is falling asleep behind the wheel or getting into accidents.  I know, it sounds too good to be true, which is why you need to pick up yours today.  There's no risk to buying them if you keep your receipt, as most stores are happy to take them back if you're not satisfied.

After a quick charge, the cars are off and zooming around the track you just built with a nudge of your fingers.  Remember how the Furbies used to "talk to" each other? Well, these new Akai technological hot rods actually line up at the starting line in a formation so perfect you wonder how on earth they do it.

Play with Friends or Alone

As long as your friend and you each have a compatible device (see below for "phone specs," you're good to go. For those moments where all your friends aren't available, feel free to challenge automated opponents to a race. However, be forewarned that your computerized opponent is a fast learner and will know everything about your driving quirks very quickly!

​Phone Specs

Basically, if your phone can download Anki's app, it's likely compatible with the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit. You may wonder, why even bother with the phone when you could push the car along the track yourself, old-school. And we suppose you're more than welcome to do that. We just think it's more fun to use your phone or tablet as a steering wheel and "drive" the cars as the geniuses at Anki designed the app to do.

Pricing

The Anki lines of cars come with a somewhat hefty price tag, but of course, we cannot expect an innovation like this to come for cheap.  When you see the cars zooming around the track with no guard rails or tracks to keep them in line, sometimes cutting each other off, you'll begin to realize the tremendous value you just bought into.

Self-Driving Cars

Much like the cars that Uber and Google are testing these days, the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit cars drive themselves.  Unlike Uber and Google cars, though, nobody is falling asleep behind the wheel or getting into accidents.  I know, it sounds too good to be true, which is why you need to pick up yours today.  There's no risk to buying them if you keep your receipt, as most stores are happy to take them back if you're not satisfied.

After a quick charge, the cars are off and zooming around the track you just built with a nudge of your fingers.  Remember how the Furbies used to "talk to" each other? Well, these new Akai technological hot rods actually line up at the starting line in a formation so perfect you wonder how on earth they do it.

Play with Friends or Alone

As long as your friend and you each have a compatible device (see below for "phone specs," you're good to go. For those moments where all your friends aren't available, feel free to challenge automated opponents to a race. However, be forewarned that your computerized opponent is a fast learner and will know everything about your driving quirks very quickly!

Phone Specs

Basically, if your phone can download Anki's app, it's likely compatible with the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit. You may wonder, why even bother with the phone when you could push the car along the track yourself, old-school. And we suppose you're more than welcome to do that. We just think it's more fun to use your phone or tablet as a steering wheel and "drive" the cars as the geniuses at Anki designed the app to do.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.    

  • Hot Wheels Ai Intelligent Race System Starter Kit
  • Max Traxxx R/C Tracer Racers High-Speed Remote Control Starter Track Set
  • Real FX Carbon Black Ai Car

Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit

Anki Overdrive Starter Kit
  • Use your mobile device to take command of real robotic Supercars in Anki OVERDRIVE.
  • Build up to eight battlefields in seconds with the Starter Kit.
  • Battle and race against friends or AI controlled vehicles. Wifi required for battles between iOS and Android devices

​Price $$$ out of $$$

If you're on a budget, you may be tempted to go with a lesser kit.  If you do, you'll be cheating yourself out of one heck of an experience.

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Fun Factor

PROS

  • Amazing out-of-the-box experience including audio during the device setup
  • Advanced technology keeping cars in line
  • Distinctive strengths or "characters" define each car on the track
  • Weapon features allow the driver to creatively attack opposing racers

Cons

  • It's a highly addictive gaming experience, and you may lose track of time while playing with this set

Hot Wheels Ai Intelligent Race System Starter Kit

Hot Wheels Ai Intelligent Race System Starter Kit
  • The Toy Insider Hot 20" winner. Hot Wheels delivers the ultimate racing set with enhanced Artificial Intelligence smart...
  • The Ai also controls rival racers who will stop at nothing to overtake you and speed to victory
  • Play in Championship Mode for high-tech, head-to-head racing and test your driving skills to launch virtual hazards,...

You're really paying for the brand here.  The featured Anki car really mastered the art of AI, which keeps the cars knowing where they are on the track. But Hot Wheels are a decent, recognizable brand name competitor.

Price $$ out of $$$

Economically priced compared to the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Fun Factor

PROS

  • Classic, well-known Hot Wheels design
  • Works on and off the track
  • No external devices (smartphone) required
  • No compatibility issues

Cons

  • Not as intelligent as the featured model
  • Dust can gather in electrical contacts

Max Traxxx R/C Tracer Racers High Speed Remote Control Starter Track Set

Max Traxxx R/C Award Winning High Speed Remote Control Infinity Loop...
  • Max Traxxx takes your racing to the next level with High Speed Remote Control Glow in the Dark Racing
  • Glow Powered racing cars feature undercarriage lights that not only make these cars look almost like they are hovering...
  • Remote controlled cars can be driven at variable speeds with a top to-scale speed of 500 miles per hour; cars recharge...

If you appreciate a good, old-fashioned RC car that you just happen to enjoy racing, this is your low-financial-risk bet. It's the KIA of your racing selections.

Price $ out of $$$

If the Hot Wheels racers are economical, Max Traxxx is max-cheap!

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Fun Factor

PROS

  • Value, value, value! Excellent price
  • Simple enough for younger kids to work
  • Swag undercarriage lights
  • Variable speed
  • Track glows in the dark

Cons

  • No artificial intelligence
  • No virtual obstacles or weapons

Real FX Carbon Black Ai Car

Real FX Carbon Black Ai Car
  • 1:32 scale, with realistic scale speeds of up to 180 mph
  • 'Ackerman' style steering
  • Opto sensors read RealFX Sensor-Track 200x a second

"No lanes, no limits!" is how it's advertised; that, and of course, the buzzword of the season, Ai. And while nobody comes close to the mastery of the roads of our featured product, this one has one very important edge over our featured product.

Price $$ out of $$$

We scoured both the used and new markets, and you can get these cars surprisingly cheap if you look in the right places. Problem is, many of the most readily available deals don't include a complete startup kit, so the price you see at first might be deceptive because you have to buy the other accessories separately.

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Fun Factor

PROS

  • Cars race a long time without changing batteries
  • Continuous artificial intelligence system exchanges info between cars and handsets
  • The handset includes different settings for different skill levels

Cons

  • Artificial intelligence is robust but not as capable as Anki models

Conclusion

Easily the best player in the new "Artificial Intelligence" class of "slotless cars" is the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit. Hot Wheels is a recognized brand with bigger and flashier cars, providing the comfort and nostalgia that defines most American brand-driven tastes. Max Traxxx' undercarriage bling might also be tempting for some audiences, complemented by its glow-in-the-dark track. Real FX may not seem to have any huge differentiators, but it's a capable racing toy car.

That said, Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit is arguably the most intelligent option, edging out its Hot Wheels competitor in the realm of both control over the car and virtual bells and whistles which amount to a better user experience. The Hot Wheels don't offer nearly the same degree of control over the physical car.

You can't go wrong with the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit. It is sure to impress even the staunchest toy car critic over eight years old. More importantly, the memories of their first artificially intelligent car will live on in their real intelligence for a lifetime. That's because the Anki company seems to be really passionate about creating quality, human-friendly technology, and it shows in the Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit.

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