Anki demonstrates artificial intelligence savvy with car game at WWDC

Apple Anki Screen shot 2013-06-10 at 3.45.48 PM

If you’re looking for a wild driving experience, you could invest in a Tesla and, eventually, do a cross-country road trip, or you can check out the miniature car that can be controlled through a forthcoming iOS application from artificial-intelligence startup Anki.

After Apple CEO Tim Cook himself gave them an introduction on stage at the WWDC conference in San Francisco on Monday, Anki CEO Boris Sofman (pictured) and a colleague demonstrated how iOS devices can not only control the little cars but also serve as “the brains behind an immersive, real-world experience.”

The cars whizzed around a small track on stage. One car deployed a weapon and shot the other cars off the track, and multiple cars were influenced by the driving behavior of one car. Sensors track where the vehicles are and communicate information back via low-power Bluetooth, and the system determines a long list of options for the next action to take. Watch the video here.

The whole game will become available in the fall, for around $200.

The company wants to go beyond gaming, though. “We are a robotics and artificial-intelligence company, and what you see here is only the beginning,” Sofman said. It’s unclear if the company will go beyond the consumer space to also provide products for businesses, although that certainly seems possible. Sofman’s bio states that he’s worked on “off-road autonomous vehicles and bomb-disposal robots.”

Either way, investors seem to like the company’s prospects. Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and Two Sigma have backed the company with around $50 million, the company announced in a Monday statement.

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