We all know Hot Wheels for their die-cast toy cars, which continue to be popular among children and adult collectors alike. While they remain fun to play with, you have to admit, they’re a far cry from the high-octane entertainment you can get out of Anki’s AI-powered toy cars. It took a while, but the toy car giant is finally ready to stake some claim out of that high-tech pie in the form of the Hot Wheels AI.
Bigger than your usual Hot Wheels model (1/32 scale), the cars come with integrated smarts that allow them to run autonomously on a modular track (which is flat and made from paper). Of course, watching two cars run around a track over and over can get boring, so it also comes with control pads for driving the vehicles like a regular RC, with the AI coming in merely to keep the cars from steering off track during races. Oh yeah, the AI can be dialed down, too, if you prefer to hold your race more closely to a real RC competition.
The Hot Wheels AI cars can drive at top speeds of 5mph, which should be manageable enough to handle while they zip around winding tracks. Each car, by the way, comes with swappable shells, so you can just purchase new shells to give your stock car a fancier makeover. Gameplay isn’t as extensive as the Overdrive system, since there’s no accompanying app, although you can launch virtual oil slicks and missiles to disrupt cars directly from the controllers. Once off the tracks, the cars are, basically, regular RC models, since the AI only kicks in when driving on the coded tracks.
Slated to launch in October, the Hot Wheels AI is priced at $99.