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Electronics & Test
Teardown: Inside the Anki Drive System
10/30/2013

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The Anki Drive system of smartphone-controlled cars uses a specialty mat developed by Anki, a tech startup aiming to bring artificial intelligence and adaptability to objects in the physical world. This is its first offering.
The Anki Drive system of smartphone-controlled cars uses a specialty mat developed by Anki, a tech startup aiming to bring artificial intelligence and adaptability to objects in the physical world. This is its first offering.

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Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Big brains for a little car
Rob Spiegel   10/30/2013 10:06:47 AM
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Amazing teardown. That's a lot of brains for a tiny car. I'd love to give that car a spin. Always liked playing race cars with my kids. I'd love to do it with these super cars.

naperlou
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Blogger
Slot cars without the slots
naperlou   10/30/2013 11:46:14 AM
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This is great.  I still think they could have done more processing on the car, but that's just me.  We used to have slot cars of various sizes.  Customization was always fun.  We would put more powerful motors, better, wider, stickier tires, etc.  I expect you could do a lot with these as well.  I like that they use light to help control the cars. 

Stuart21
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Silver
Re: Slot cars without the slots
Stuart21   10/31/2013 9:03:47 AM
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"With its motors hanging way out back of the rear axle, this little Ankimobile definitely hails from the controversial Porsche 911 school of car design."

Hence the snappy 'steeringless' steering.

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Slot cars without the slots
William K.   10/31/2013 10:07:01 AM
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More processing in the car would both inhibit development and increase battery drain, and probably reduce performance as well. It looks like they have the mix down quite well right now.

And I think how much advanced this thing is over those slotcars, except that they had way more power.

Differential drive steering requires feedback from some source, so they had to put tracks on the pad. But that also leaves the path clear for a lot more sophisticated programming as far as paths go, and also allows a means of avoiding collisions. Those kids who like to smash and crash toys like this fuly deserve to be frustrated and to have the toys totally destruct on the first intentional crash. And since it is constantly detecting it's position, it should be able to shut down if it runs off the pad, which is good for not getting lost.

Probably any change to the front wheels friction would alter the handling a bit. My guess is that those front wheels slide easily but also roll easily.

bdcst
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Platinum
Re: Slot cars without the slots
bdcst   10/31/2013 1:24:46 PM
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Well, how much intelligence do you want in what isn't much more than a self propelled wireless optical mouse!  Very clever!!

Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: Slot cars without the slots
Cabe Atwell   5/6/2014 10:00:48 PM
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I was thinking the same thing bdcst, would they become more precise going into turns with higher resolutions?

Ken E.
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Gold
So it skid-steers?
Ken E.   10/31/2013 9:04:15 AM
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Interesting, clever steering, and that would explain the apparent unequal front to rear weight ratio I sensed and wondered about right away.  I wonder if it wouldn't be a racing advantage to have the rear wheels clean, but the front ones dirty?

I wonder how it will handle crashes.  What kid doesn't want to crash at the highest speed possible, over and over?!  Or make this a demo derby or push-off-the-mat race? 

Wondering too why it needs position speed data from the mat.  Will it run when off the mat?

Just a bit of info about the app that runs this would have been nice.

Stuart21
User Rank
Silver
Re: So it skid-steers?
Stuart21   10/31/2013 12:41:10 PM
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"I wonder if it wouldn't be a racing advantage to have the rear wheels clean, but the front ones dirty?"

Actually probably would steer better with a sprung teflon button at the front - whatever you do, don't let the front wheels touch the ground!

(Or actually two sprung buttons - 'Sprung buttons that were formerly called wheels')

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