Ever since Toyota began exploring the world of serious automotive toys with its Camatte concepts, we've been waiting and hoping for it – or someone – to build a customizable, drivable kid's car for the modern era. The new Arrow Smart-Kart from Actev Motors isn't quite the proper mini-car the evolving Camatte is, but it does offer a similar experience: a vehicle for young kids to customize and drive. The accompanying smartphone app gives parents peace of mind, delivering emergency controls and monitoring.
Possibly the coolest kid's toy we've seen since Christmas, the Silicon Valley-developed Smart-Kart pulls inspiration from race cars and automated smart cars in providing a modern alternative to the classic go-kart. The race car obviously inspired its look, while the smart car led to a technological platform that benefits both children and parents.
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Designed for children five to nine years old, the Smart-Kart relies on a pair of lithium-ion-powered, rear-mounted 250-watt electric motors. Those motors are capable of pushing the car up to 12 mph (19 km/h), but only if the parent allows it. The accompanying smartphone app, which connects with the kart via Wi-Fi, gives the parent serious supervisory powers, allowing him or her to set a top speed, activate an emergency stop, shift between drive, park, neutral and reverse, and set up a geo-fence that keeps the car within a specified area.
The app also tracks driving time, distance and maximum speed, and as a safety measure, it can alert the parent when the kart has been inactive for a specified period. It can save different driver profiles, so that individual drivers can have their own settings and keep track of their own driving statistics.
Like many modern vehicles, the Smart-Kart even includes a sensor-based anti-collision with auto-braking system, helping the young driver avoid crashes.
It might sound like the Smart-Kart has more features for the parent, but there's plenty for the child to love, too. Besides the experience of zipping around the neighborhood and making all the local Power Wheels drivers jealous, the Smart-Kart can also be a fun project car. Actev plans to add accessories like custom body kits, downloadable engine sounds, drifting kits, Laser Tag sensors and gaming apps so that kids can change the Smart-Kart's appearance and driving experience.
The Smart-Kart features a steel chassis, pneumatic tires, a seat with dual speakers, Wi-Fi and GPS, regenerative braking, an indicator light for driving/braking/reverse, and adjustable brake and accelerator pedals. The basic kart weighs 73 lb (33 kg).
The Arrow Smart-Kart is on display at the New York Toy Fair now and is available for preorder for US$599.95 (without the red body panels pictured, which are listed at $99.95 for the kit). Deliveries are planned for Northern Hemisphere summer.
The video below provides a quick look at what the Smart-Kart is all about.
Source: Actev MotorsView gallery - 4 images