Toyota is blending the worlds of virtual and real-life car racing with a new accessory for its 86 (also known as the GT86 and Scion FR-S in other markets) sports car. Drivers can record their lap times and data with the new Sports Drive Logger, then upload the information to the Gran Turismo 6 video game, going head to head against friends and professional drivers.
The Sports Drive Logger telemetry recording device connects with the car's controller area network (CAN) and GPS to collect drive data. Toyota explains that collected data can include GPS information, vehicle speed, accelerator pedal input, steering angles, brake operation signals, shifting data and engine speed. That will provide a comprehensive look not only at the car's overall performance, but also at the driver input behind that performance.
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Instead of just offering the data for computer upload, or incorporating HD video like the Corvette Performance Data Recorder, Toyota has worked with Sony Computer Entertainment toward applying the data to the PlayStation 3 Gran Turismo 6 car racing game. When the driver records real-life laps at certain racing circuits in Japan, he'll be able to upload and view those drives in the virtual world, providing an interesting way of "replaying" the run.
GT6 players will also be to race against their own real-life track runs or those from other drive logger users. The GT6 Toyota drive logger functionality will initially support the Fuji Speedway International Course, the Tsukuba Circuit 2000 Course, and the Suzuka Circuit International Course, with additional courses being added in the future.
In addition to replaying and racing their track runs, Sports Drive Logger users will be able to analyze their data against that of professionals, identifying specific ways of improving their real-world driving performances. The next time they hit the track, they can apply professional techniques, such as acceleration patterns, braking and track angles.
Toyota plans to launch the Sports Drive Logger in Japan on June 2 for a price of ¥91,800 (US$900). It does not mention plans for release in other markets.
The video below provides an illustration of how the Sports Drive Logger will work on the asphalt and couch.