Anki OVERDRIVE is now available in the US, Canada

After months of teasing robot car racing fans, Anki is now announcing the retail availability of its latest masterpiece, Anki OVERDRIVE. Taking the lessons, both good and bad, that it learned from the first Anki DRIVE, the company has expanded not just the capabilities of the the cars but the capabilities and nature of the tracks themselves. With Anki OVERDRIVE now ready for purchase, all sorts of players, from car racing fans to video gamers, can try to build their own challenging track to face off with each other or sophisticated AI.

It's hard to pin Anki OVERDRIVE down to a single definition, as it meshes together AI and robotics, toy car racing, and video games. At its core, Anki offers "Supercars" that can be remotely controlled via a mobile app. But each car is a robot in its own right, which can be driven by an AI, each with its own personality and unique abilities.

Debuting last 2013 at Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference, Anki OVERDRIVE steps the game up a notch by changing the lay of the land. Literally. The first Anki DRIVE utilized a rollable printout as a track, which, while more portable, limited the format of the race. OVERDRIVE instead uses modular tracks that can then be assembled any which way you like.

Beyond the track, Anki OVERDRIVE also offers more game modes than its predecessor, from racing with other human players or competing with AI. The Supercars have special functions related to their "personality", from scrambling another car's AI to "launching" (virtual, of course) weapons against opponents.

The Anki OVERDRIVE has a starter kit priced at $149.99 which already includes two Supercars and 10 FlexTrack modules for building up to 8 possible tracks. Additional modules can be purchased for $10 to $30 per track while new Supercars go for $49.99. Anki promises to provide new game modes and features for free in the future.