Computational creativity and the future of AI

GPS-based ToyToyota app lets kids 'drive' from the backseat


July 19, 2011

Backseat Driver is ToyToyota's GPS-based game for iPhone (Image: ToyToyota)

Backseat Driver is ToyToyota's GPS-based game for iPhone (Image: ToyToyota)

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Backseat Driver is the first "toy" by ToyToyota, a new brand from the Japanese automotive company. It's in the form of a simple GPS-based app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and allows kids to take a virtual drive linked by GPS to the current driving route in the real world.

The casual racing game utilizes GPS to mirror the route of the real car, which is represented by a virtual vehicle called the "Papa Car," which in turn is chased by the player's in-game car. The player steers the car to the left or right via the phone's accelerometer, and earns points by making precise turns and picking up various objects.

Those objects are dropped by Papa Car or are associated with landmarks, such as stores, restaurants and other real-life buildings taken from the GPS map, which appear during the virtual drive as icons. The rarer the landmark, the more points can be earned. All collected landmarks are saved and are accessible via a separate page, to obtain more information about them. The points can be spent on customizing the design of the virtual car, such as changing its color or installing new parts.

All routes are saved automatically as is the current design of the car, and can be shared on Twitter. Backseat Driver comes with an online ranking where players can compete according to their total travel distance and total points. By involving the kids in the driving, the cartoon-style game seems like it could be a fun way of keeping them entertained during long journeys.

ToyToyota's Backseat Driver is free to download, and compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch 3rd and 4th generation and iPad. It requires iOS 4.1 or later.

The promotional video below shows how the game is played.


This sounded awesome until I realized the child is going to begin nagging the parent to change routes so they can collect more points from rarer landmarks! :-)

20th July, 2011 @ 10:22 am PDT

One big problem with this app. I just installed it on my iPad and the thing is such a memory hog, that I get low memory warnings if even one other app is open

Robert Guimont
25th July, 2011 @ 06:30 pm PDT
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