I’ll confess that I’d heard of Anki Drive before, but it was really only in passing. So when I was given the opportunity to check everything out first-hand, I was definitely curious. There were some surprises and a few disappointments, but after some time spent tearing around the track I couldn’t help but be impressed. Is this the next step in remote control racing? That’s not for me to say, but it’s definitely in interesting experiment.
Imagine a semi-futuristic racing game in which you can compete with your friends or AI opponents on various tracks in an attempt to upgrade existing cars and possibly gain access to new ones. Picture all of the vehicles in each race have weapons and shields. Now imagine that the cars are actually physical electronic toys you can carry around with you. Now you’ve got a good idea of what Anki Drive is.
Each starter set comes with two cars and the necessary cables, as well as a track printed on something akin to vellum. You’ll also need to download the free Anki Drive app to control everything, of course. Once you do, simply turn on your cars, place them on the track, then use the app to find them and add them to your “garage” where you can spend points won through races to upgrade their stats. When you’re ready to start, you just set up a race and select your vehicle. If you want to invite a friend they can simply select the other car, or you can scan it in yourself and race against the AI. Yes, the physical car is controlled by AI. In fact, one of the newest additions to the lineup, Corax (pictured below), can only be used as a player vehicle if it’s beaten in an AI race first.
Weapons are also important, and will allow you to incapacitate your opponents temporarily during a heated race. Or you can simply battle each other to see who scores the most hits. The interesting thing is, again, that this is all happening with real remote controlled cars via your iPhone. When a car takes too much damage or runs out of juice, it will actually grind to a halt for a few moments while it recharges itself. Heck, these things can even recognize when they’re driving the wrong way and turn themselves around automatically.
The thing is, I’m not entirely sure who the target audience is. The cars seem fairly durable and were able to shrug off the occasional collision easily, but at almost $70 apiece they’re a bit outside the realm of a children’s toy. $199.99 for the starter kit is nothing to sneeze at, either. And yet, the underlying tech is pretty darn cool. I guess you could say your mileage may vary.
Automatic: Your Smart Driving Assistant is now available in over 250 Apple retail stores for $99.95. It’s a device that attaches to your car and teams up with your iPhone to help with all of your driving habits. This means it can help you save gas, decode and clear the check engine light, and remember where you parked. It can also detect a crash and automatically call for help and alert loved ones. The best part, it’s all subscription free.
“Apple sets a high bar for the quality of products they carry in their stores. We’re thrilled to make Automatic available to the millions of people who trust Apple to curate beautiful and easy to use products,” said Thejo Kote, CEO and co-founder of Automatic, in a press release.
2K Drive made its appearance on the App Store yesterday at the price of $6.99. I’m always excited when a new racing game releases, especially when it’s from a company that was founded by people who worked on titles like Project Gotham Racing and Blur. So, being excited about 2K Drive and having some hands-on experience from my time at PAX, I had some questions for the guys at Lucid Games.
I would like to thank Lucid’s Peter O’Brien for taking the time to answer my questions. Alright, lets get into the good stuff!
148Apps: Why did you decide to make 2K Drive? What was the “driving” point? Peter O’Brien (PO): A lot of the devs at Lucid either love driving games and/or cars in one way or another. Some restore them, some race RC’s, others collect coffee table books. But in essence, we love the culture of cars and wanted to bring that to a wider audience by expanding the experiences in an authentic driving game.
148Apps: There must be a lot of love for cars and racing in general within your company. 2K Drive features real-life news from racing websites, which includes videos and photo galleries. What made you decide to add this feature? PO: Yes, there is. Some of that love came out of making driving games for years; others can spot the make and year of a car from a shut line or an engine blip. We wanted to bring the news to a wider audience, a new generation, but we also believed it would expand the idea of the app as being more than a game, giving people a reason to stay in it or come back to.
148Apps: How much studying did you do on other mobile racers during the creation of 2K Drive? There are a lot of favorites out there, including arcade racing games and “real racing” games. PO: We never stop studying the competition, and I trust they do the same. But more importantly, we knew what we wanted to do very early on and we believed in the experience we could create. The most exciting thing for us, however, is that all of this is first generation tech. Others are on their third/fourth and we don’t see ourselves playing too much of a catch-up.
148Apps: How well do you think 2K Drive will compete against other racers and why? PO: We hope it will do well because it offers a different package than its competition, and the handling is authentic. It’s something we think competitors have been scared of doing because of the device, but we just saw as a challenge. Our content is diverse, whether players are off-roading, track racing, stunt driving, or drag racing – no one offers what we do in one package.
148Apps: As I mentioned, 2K Drive features the live news feed along with a number of modes and options for customization. These are important things to have, yes, but it all comes down to the gameplay. What will players like most about racing in 2K Drive? PO: The handling model is so deep that players can spend a lot of time experiencing those features with all of our cars and tracks. We’ve made sure to include what we call ‘burst’ modes, like Car Football or Car Bowling, Hot-laps, race & drifting challenges, a stream of unlocks, and solid customization options for the car and driver.
We also built in a unique multiplayer feature called RaceFace (TM). This allows players skin a photo of their own face onto that of the drivers, so that when they are competing against rivals in the seamless multiplayer system, they will be able to see real friends and players behind the wheel of the cars. It’s like your racing “selfie.”
148Apps: What do you feel will keep players coming back to 2K Drive? What’s going to be the obsession? PO: That’s for the players to decide, but the depth of the handling and wide scope of driving experiences, mixed with the rival system and our daily challenges, offer some compelling reasons to build a 2K Drive habit!
148Apps: 2K Drive features more than 100 events, 25 tracks, and 25 cars for players to experience at launch. I’m curious though, how many cars do you have in your version of the game? Give me a hint about future updates! PO: Ha, that would be telling. We have a few things coming very soon and are looking forward to seeing the feedback so we can refine the experience and deal with any problems. So please, do tell us what you do or don’t like in the game!
148Apps: What’s your favorite dashboard item to add to your vehicles in the game? PO: Believe it or not, the traffic lights. It’s a retro thing!
148Apps: What’s your favorite mode in the game? PO: I’ve got two: Survivor and any racing mode. Survivor is great because you set the target, and you get in the zone when you’re racing any type of event, because, well, it’s racing!
148Apps: Do you try to race a clean race or would you rather get dirty and run an opponent off the road? PO: Clean. But rubbing is racing too!
148Apps: Pick one thing that we didn’t discuss that you would like to share with your fans. PO: We had a small and dedicated team who believed in the company from early on. They made sacrifices to be a part of the project and our future, and without them, there would be no 2K Drive – so thank you. Also, a big thank you to everyone who has bought the game already, the fans who are spreading the word, and the players reaching out to help improve it. We’ll see you on the road!
I would like to thank Peter O’Brien once again for taking the time to answer our questions. I wish you and your team the best of luck with 2K Drive and I look forward to seeing more from Lucid in the future! Thank you!
Posted by Rob Rich on July 29th, 2013 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Driving can be stressful, but paying for gas can be even worse. Fuel Monitor, a free app from Adir Genish, is meant to ease some of that pain.
Fuel Monitor runs in the background and uses the iOS device’s GPS location functions, along with your car’s model information, to monitor driving excursions and display fuel consumption data. It also offers up tips on how to cut down on fuel consumption as well as assists with finding parking spaces, locating your car after it’s parked, and an “Accident Kit” should anything unfortunate happen along the way.
And really, who doesn’t want to cut down on their refueling costs?
This week at 148Apps.com, we helped everyone looking to expand their iOS device’s musical footprint with a round-up of Bluetooth speakers. Site editor Rob LeFebvre says, “Bluetooth is a fantastic technology. It lets me connect my iPhone or iPad to a ton of different devices, including speakers, keyboards, other computers, headphones, and mice without wires. The latest version, 4.0, draws very little power and features an increased signal range of up to 100 feet.
148Apps received three different portable Bluetooth speakers recently, and we decided to put them all through their paces, to better understand which ones might be better for specific uses. We’ll be looking at the Braven 600, the CubeEdge, the Disco 2, and the Logitech Boombox.”
Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon was in a traveling mood, as she reviewed Geography Drive USA, calling it, “A wonderfully engaging educational app that teaches about American geography in ways children will love.
As one can imagine, it is not uncommon for friends and family to ask me to recommend apps for their children in grade school as many apps out there are for preschool-aged children. Geography Drive USA is a title that I can easily recommend as an application that is both highly educational and a lot of fun.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-11-20 :: Category: Education
And at AndroidRundown.com, our KickStarter Spotlight of the week covered Pixel Kingdom. Joseph Bertolini writes, “Today we’re looking at a game that is the brainchild of a college sophomore from Central Florida and it is a fresh take on the game-type that was popularized by games such as Plants vs. Zombies; where waves of enemies come down set lanes, and it is up to the player to deploy defenses down each specific aisle. Named Pixel Kingdom it is a small twist on this idea is that here these defenses are actively moving down their lane in an endless battlefield against the ranks of evil. Thrown in are a handful of bosses that fill multiple lanes, such as random dragon attacks.”
So there you have it – another week in the life of the 148Apps network of sites. Stick with us every day by following us on Twitter or Pinterest and Liking us on Facebook. There’s more content just right around the corner.
Waze is more than a navigation app; its developers promise to help us all outsmart traffic together with a combination of social and database-driven technologies. The new update adds even more social features, including collaborative driving directions, live maps, new interface and design, as well as iOS 6 and iPhone 5 support.
Here’s a list of all the new features:
✓ See friends driving to your destination & everyone’s ETA
✓ Send a pick up request to grab anyone’s location & navigate to them
✓ Share your drive by sending a live map of your route & ETA to anyone
✓ New design and UI throughout
✓ Sign in with Facebook
✓ Nearing destination bar
✓ Toll road usage indication
✓ Private messages
✓ Parking location pin
✓ Support for iOS6 and iPhone 5
Posted by Jeff Scott on October 17th, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Carmageddon is a retro / revival game funded through Kickstarter. In the game you drive a car and destroy as much as you can. The original was a cult classic. Now that Carmageddon has hit the App Store, it’s free for 24 hours.
Regular commuters will know that driving can get pretty dull and tedious. Sure, you can turn the radio on but even that can turn uninteresting after a time. What you need is a sense of being part of an epic adventure, right? In which case, backing Mission: Escape might be exactly what you’re after.
Currently in development and in need of Kickstarter backers, Mission: Escape is the brainchild of Fernando Macias-Jimenez. Recently graduated from the California State University in Chico, California, Fernando is a young composer with a passion for writing music to a set scene.
Recently, while driving through Chico and listening to David Arnold’s Quantum of Solace soundtrack, he realised something.
“I was driving about 30 miles per hour and I was pretty much alone in the street, yet the music suddenly gave me this rush of thrill and made me feel like I was in an action movie, with people chasing me and so on. The feeling was so vivid that it made me say out loud to myself “wow, that was awesome”. A few days later I though, “wouldn’t it be awesome to have something that would take that feeling one step further and REACT to how you are driving so that the music doesn’t seem arbitrary and generic, but customized to what you are doing at the moment?””
Fernando then joined together with others and came up with some great ideas and features, eventually leading to the creation of Mission: Escape.
The music is set to be 100% original with the focus on being “very epic” and “very fun”. The app will react according to situations such as if you’re waiting at a stop light, it’ll turn calm and serene, while once acceleration kicks in, the music will turn more cinematic and exciting. Sound effects of enemies and messages from “home base” will also be included. It sounds thrilling but what of the safety aspect? Surely, it could turn things risky?
Fernando explains, “The speed limit is definitely a big one since it’s the most obvious to cause problems. This also happens to be one of the “easier” ones to implement to some extent. Others, such as overtaking, are a bit more difficult to determine. However, we are trying to develop a security system that will try to gauge if the driver is driving recklessly and will advice the user to stop doing so or it will shut down the application. The way we would do this would be by detecting aggressive actions such as harsh acceleration, hard stopping, extra sharp turning or movement (changing lanes too fast), among other things. The iPhone will easily give us information when a user is doing something like that. The only thing to do is to create a balance point so that the security system only works when the user is actually driving recklessly and not because of something else,” with the plan for plenty of testing and development to ensure it works well and in the right scenario.
Fernando was also keen to point out that safety will take priority alongside such exciting thrills.
It all sounds pretty intriguing to me and certainly an unique way of using such technology. Check out the Hands-on demo video below as well as the Mission: Escape Kickstarter page. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on the app’s development.
Posted by Jeff Scott on August 24th, 2012 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Wired brings to our attention a new app for Escort radar detectors. From Wired:
The app links up with an Escort radar detector via Bluetooth, and when your detector catches a signal bandwidth that might be a police speed gun or red light camera, it sends the data into the software’s global database.
It’s an interesting use of iPhone technology and one that could save you money if you drive a lot.
Ask Media and Bedre Gardsdrift, Norwegian agritechnical magazine, has released a new game involving tractors called Farmorama for iOS and Android.
Farmorama has players pick a favorite tractor based on real world models and get ready for a big Farmorama tractor race. Tractors include New Holland, Case IH, Valtra, or Claas. All tractors are equipped with cab suspension, CVT transmission, and four-wheel drive.
The game includes five different tracks to race tractors on with varying degrees of hills, jumps, barns, stones and fog. Players can pick up fuel cans during the drives and earn bonus points. Players can try to beat their own or friends’ top scores or share scores on Facebook to challenge friends over the social network.
Farmorama was developed by MottiMotti, a Norwegian development company that specializes in mobile apps and games. Some of their experience includes doing animation for Hollywood.
As long as you don’t live close to your place of employment or in a budding metropolis with massive transportation systems, driving is most likely at least a small part of your daily life. Unfortunately, there are far too many crazy drivers on the roads who forget that driving is a privilege, not a right. The problem is, many drivers don’t actually realize they are reckless until it is too late. And just because no one has informed you of your navigational inadequacies doesn’t mean that they do not exist.
For this very reason, the new iOS application iDriveControl was created. Never before has their been a tool that not only can keep you abreast of your own failures, but potentially save your life in the off chance you were to end up in a collision. But don’t take our word for it, why not glance over some of theirs?
iDriveControl turns an iPhone into a black-box that records the position of your vehicle, provides information about the safety of driving by signaling dangerous turns, accelerations and braking.
If you have an accident, your iPhone sends an email with the position of your car to a list of selected people. If you choose, you can have all the data recorded on the web and you can even check them in real time at the www.idrivecontrol.com.
So not only do you get comprehensive analysis of your driving habits, but also the means to store the data remotely should something, God forbid, ever happen to your phone. While this would be great for helping to keep yourself in check, it would be even more ideal for a parent of a young driver. The ability to backseat drive, without ever having to step foot in a vehicle is reason enough to make this an instant purchase.
We all love technology, but while it has made life so much easier it has also made driving a lot more dangerous. While folks simply talking on cell phones pose enough of a safety risk, those sending text messages or checking email are even more dangerous. Now, when it comes to email at least there’s a solution, as Email’nDrive allows you to send and receive messages without taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel.
Email’nDrive will read emails received aloud to drivers, which allows you to keep up on important messages while maintaining your focus at the wheel. The pro version of the app also supports composing messages via voice, so you can put together a response without ever having to touch your iPhone. It’s a wonderful concept, and one which does a great deal to enhance vehicular safety. The program is designed to work with popular email servers such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and more, and can be configured to work with Exchange if you know how to configure IMAP.
Though the app has the potential to be truly revolutionary there are still some bugs which needs to be sorted out first. Many users are reporting crashing issues, so there’s a chance after you download the app that it won’t work properly. Also, Email’nDrive must be actively running in order to work properly, so you can’t just have it sitting in the background while doing other things. Of course, if you’re driving you probably shouldn’t have other apps open anyway, but the type of person who is willing to email while driving is also likely the same type who will be doing all sorts of other distracting things rather than paying attention to the road.
For those interested the basic version of the app is available for free, or you can get the pro upgrade for $5. Enjoy and drive safe!