Developed in partnership with Intel, K1 Speed, and Black Trax, the one-of-a-kind experience allows participants to race against the clock as they navigate a virtual environment mapped to a real-world track.
Similar to existing arcade-style racing games, the VR track is riddled with various power-ups to obtain and hazards to avoid. Intel and Master of Shapes are currently testing the VR racing experience at K1 Speed’s racetrack in Gardena, California, allowing lucky participants to race through a post-apocalyptic Tokyo environment, complete with speed boosts, lasers, scattered wreckage, wildfires, and plenty of synth wave music.
One major goal for the team was to introduce a certain level of gamification that would be impossible to recreate in a standard go-kart experience.
Over the course of six weeks, Master of Shapes Lidar scanned the entire 190 ft by 160 ft racetrack before outfitting the perimeter with 28 individual cameras to track driver positions while in VR. Using an Arduino-compatible board referred to as the 'Teensy', the program is able to read any changes in the steering, throttle, or brake and respond in real-time.
So basically when a player turns their steering wheel in real life, the virtual wheel turns as well. Power-ups, such as speed boosts, also affect the mobility of the vehicle; so when a player drives over a speed boost marker in-game, their vehicle speeds up in the real world. Traps, such as fire, have the opposite effect, limiting the karts speed and costing players valuable time.
For now, there's only the one post-apocalyptic Tokyo environment available, but the team has already expressed interest in offering various other environments to race through, most likely something tropical.
In the meantime, have a look at the video below to learn more about the VR go-kart experience.