What Does Anki Drive Mean to Robotics?

How do you feel about robots in your living room? It sounds like science fiction, right? The reality of it happening is actually closer than you may think. As a matter of fact, the developers at Anki, and Apple, intend to make it happen in fall of 2013. Anki Drive may initially seem like a glorified racing game, but the technology behind the game is a lot more sophisticated than anything toy companies have come up with so far.

What Makes Anki Drive Revolutionary?

Simply put, Anki cars are not your typical toy race cars running around a track. Unlike the slot race cars that many people remember from their childhood, Anki cars are miniature robots with artificial intelligence. And, no, it’s not the same as the digitally controlled race cars of recent years. The big difference is that Anki’s race cars don’t always require user input to make decisions; they sense their surroundings and react to their environment based on artificial intelligence. Between a combination of Bluetooth sensors, optical technology, and iOS device processing power, Anki’s little race cars can calculate hundreds of decisions per second.

Who is Behind This?

It’s important to remember that the founders of Anki are not toymakers. Mark Palatucci, Boris Sofman and Hanns Tappeiner, the founders of Anki, were all Ph.D. students in Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics program. All of them have corporate robotics experience as well. Back in 2007, they started brainstorming a way to make robotics a part of daily life. Over half a decade later, with a lot of trial and error in between, they came up with Anki Drive
as their means of introducing robotics as a consumer product. Their initial combined idea was to introduce a physical level to video gaming, but their aspirations reach much further.

So, What Comes Next?

At this point, it is hard to say where Anki’s technology is going to lead. The one thing Anki’s founders have made clear in various interviews is that gaming is just the start of their goals. Anki Drive is a cool entry into the consumer market, but Anki’s founders have made it quite clear that they’re not just a toy company. They have stated that they intend to take robotics to a new level; removing it strictly from corporate and military use and produce products that people use as part of their daily lives.

Technology is an ever-evolving thing, but markets can be fickle. If Anki Drive is a commercial success, then it is safe to say that we can expect further development and even more innovative products from Anki. If Anki Drive crashes and burns in the marketplace, then the startup might not have a chance to make their visions a reality. However, if their initial offering is successful, then it is possible that robots in your living room will no longer be science fiction and will just be part of modern technology.