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Race Real Cars 1:43 Build Thread

We’re building the world’s first internet controlled 1:43 scale RC track letting any race real cars over the internet and compete with other players. In this BUILD thread, you can see the latest updates on the project.

We’ve made a schedule for the race track opening hours. Here’s how it look based on the GMT+3 timezone:


To see the schedule based on your location, visit the game page and scroll down.

:ballot_box_with_check: What’s done:

  • SurroRTG :exploding_head: - Surrogate’s low latency video streaming technology designed for interactive real-time experiences. Allowing people to control robotics thousands of miles away, as if they are playing a video game.

  • Selected the cars - After testing multiple micro RC options, we ended up going with Siku Racing 1:43 scale RC cars. Thank you r/rccars for all of your suggestions! see the video

  • Designed the track - Mainly Siku Racing track pieces and Carrera track decorations see the post

  • Lap and checkpoint tracking see the post

  • Design the self-charging mechanism see the post

  • Figure out a way to control RC using a computer see the post

  • Decide on the batteries for fast charging - see the post

  • Camera selected - GoPro Hero 7 Black - see the post

  • AI for the cars to drive themselves around the track

  • Lot’s of custom coding :computer::coffee:

The game is now complete check out the build video

Play the game here - https://www.surrogate.tv/game/racerealcars143

Check out our build video


We look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.

SurrogateTV Team
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3 Likes

This is crazy! Can’t wait to give it a try :open_mouth: Do you have any set date for the game launch?

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July 8th

We’re working on setting up the race track. Here are some pictures from work in progress:


Let us know, what do you think. :slight_smile:

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It almost looks good. Too bad we’re seeing these puzzle marks between the tiles. Any chance you could do something about that?
I used to build race tracks with my brother when we were younger. We always made sure the road was clean and smooth. This is the key to a good driving experience obviously…

We’re doing our best to make the track as realistic as possible. We decided to go with the original Siku Racing track pieces as they are designed specifically for the cars we are using. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about the puzzle look, but we will make sure to even out the surface so the cars run smoothly.

You’ve mentioned you used to build race tracks, was it for real cars or for RC? Great to have a race track expert in our community. :slight_smile:

There’s no official launch date just yet. We’re planing to have some pre-launch testing days for the community once we have everything setup. So stay tuned for that!

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Nice! Hopefully I’ll get to test them before the release :crossed_fingers:

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there’s not much we can do about the puzzle look, but we will make sure to even out the surface so the cars run smoothly.

Well, how are you going to even out the surface? Because if you try to fill up the spaces with some texture, you will modify the adhesive properties of the wheels.

It might be easier to build a custom made racing track instead of buying this pre-made Siku Racing puzzle track. Sometimes, money doesn’t solve all the problems :wink:

I think the track looks really good like this. The puzzle parts give a nice “gaming” vibe to the set up. It feels like being projected into a real life Toy Story movie haha

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Our first attempt for the self-charging station has hit a flop. :man_shrugging: While the charging itself works, it also interferes with the RC cars radio frequencies. We can park the car and charge it - without ever touching a thing. However we lose connection to the car right after the car start’s charging, which requires a full system restart, thus - human interraction. The goal of this project is create a fully autonomous racing track. There are some other solutions we have in mind, so we’ll keep you posted. Back to the drawing table! :hammer_and_wrench: :bulb:

IMG_20190712_165404

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The cars don’t really get affected by the puzzle structure in any way. The secret to that, is to ensure that the flooring under the track is very even, then the puzzle pieces stay perfectly aligned.

Wait till you get to drive it! :traffic_light::racing_car:

We now have the car and lap tracking working! For a while, we were debating what would be the best way to track laps. For this solution, we use machine vision to track the car at all times being able to know the exact location of the car, what is the player’s race position, as well as to time the lap and checkpoint times. In the GIF below, you can see the yellow car being tracked at all times, as wee as the checkpoints being recorded in the terminal window.

:scream: Looks so cool!
Does it work with only 1 car or with several cars too?

This “machine vision” (as you call it) seems quite presumptuous… You could have just used some sensors to detect the laps. Why all the fancy display of technology?
Again, you keep selecting the tortuous solutions instead of doing things simply :wink:

How did it go with testing other self-charging solutions? Have you made any progress?

Have you heard about the Disney wireless charging room?
https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2017/02/142703/disney-wireless-charging-room

It might give you a hint!

It supports multiple cars simultaneously. So it’s pretty much ready for the game.

It’s surprising how easy it is to use machine vision for something like this. The problem with sensors is that we have to have them at each part of the track, and also on the cars themselves (to identify the exact car). With machine vision, we are using just one simple webcam to do all of it.

Additionally, being able to identify which car is which, is also a vital element of our self-resetting and self-driving features of the track. Image recognition enables multiple track features simultaneously.

Self-charging works!

CarCharge

Sometimes you have to make everything from scratch for it to work properly. That’s exactly the case for our self-charging stations. As mentioned previously, the vision for RRC 1:43 is to make the whole game completely autonomous. Creating a way for cars to be able to charge without any human interaction is an important step in achieving that. The charging station works like a parking spot. When the car gets parked, it automatically connects to the grid via the charging pads and starts filling up the battery. Since there’s no wireless charging involved, cars don’t lose the RF connection anymore. Allowing to continue using the car after the charging cycle is complete.

We can now drive RC cars from the computer! :exploding_head::computer::racing_car:

Here’s how

For this project we used the 12 original SIku Racing controllers for sending all the commands, as we need 12 cars for the game (6 racing, 6 charging). We used Raspberry Pi to send commands via the internet. We first connected the Raspi to an Arduino board which sends digital control signals. As the Siku controllers use analog signals, we’ve also added the digital to analog signal converter to the setup. The converter takes the digital signals from the Arduino board, converts it to analog, and sends it to the controller via a couple of attached cables.

So far everything works great!