Hot Wheels, the 48-year-old model car-maker owned by toy giant Mattel, has launched the AI Intelligent Race System. It’s a product that looks very similar to the Anki Overdrive kit we played with this summer: A multi-configurable track with a coating that’s read by sensors on the underside of remote-controllable toy cars you race friends with.
Like Overdrive, you have the sensors constantly scanning the track to stay on it. Another similarity is the Mario Kart-like idea of invisible weapons and obstacles you can fire at opponents – computer or human – during a race. Add to this a range of colours and designs on different vehicles, including trucks. You get a sports car and muscle car in the box.
Unlike Overdrive, however, these vehicles aren’t controlled by your smartphone, but by controllers that come in the box. This saves precious phone battery while providing a more analog, nostalgic experience. Perhaps more important is the off-road feature. Yes, you can drive these cars off the supplied track, which makes for more open-ended fun than Anki cuurently offers. However, we can’t say whether the mechanics of on-track racing work as well as Overdrive until a set comes in for review.
The Hot Wheels AI Intelligent Race System is available on pre-order with a September 22 release date in the US for $100 (Dh368). We’ve yet to receive word on a UAE release date but have been in touch with Mattel to ask. We’ll update you as we hear more.