I am sitting within the passenger seat of a Nissan Qashqai, PS4 controller in hand, whereas we observe an costly sports activities automobile nervously creeping spherical small plastic cones on the UK’s legendary Silverstone motor racing circuit.

It’s miles from essentially the most exhilarating motor sports activities motion the circuit has witnessed, however my sweaty palms and facial expressions inform a unique story. 

That is as a result of, with each squeeze of the R2 set off, the exhaust of the modified Nissan GT-R roared and the automobile sped away from us down the observe.

There is a second of panic because the automobile begins to get away from me, and a scrambled press of L2 brings it to a cease. That was scary, but in addition superior.

I am smiling, lots. And we go once more.

Sitting within the passenger seat of the next automobile did not all the time present an excellent view


This is not a retelling of a fever dream after a heavy night time on the cheese. No, that is actual life. 

The brainchild of Dr James Brighton, who heads the Centre of Automotive Know-how at Cranfield College in Bedfordshire, UK, this totally remote-controlled Nissan GT-R took between 4 and 6 weeks to transform from its conventional kind, and is pushed utilizing a PlayStation Dualshock four controller. It is slightly bit bonkers, but in addition an entire lot of enjoyable.

The distant is wired into a pc (through its microUSB port) that transmits to the automobile, however the Dualshock four itself hasn’t been modified in any method – it is the identical one you get in any field with a brand new PS4.

Nonetheless, the pc (and antenna) this one is plugged into provides you an working distance of as much as 1km away from the automobile, a far cry from the comparatively restricted Bluetooth vary of the usual PlayStation controller.

R2 is about as much as management the fuel, L2 the brake, up on the D pad selects ahead gear, down is reverse and steering is through the left analogue stick. The sunshine bar even adjustments colour to point out you which of them mode you are in (impartial, ahead, reverse).

For anybody who’s performed any racing recreation, it is a pure setup – till you search for and see the real-life automobile forward of your leap ahead.

It is a very unusual sensation to begin with, requiring tentative squeezes of R2 and L2 as I labored out the strain required to get the automobile going with out ploughing it into the tyre wall.

Steering felt twitchy as I fastidiously nudged the GT-R spherical just a few cones, whereas the brake management was just about all or nothing, which introduced the automobile to some alarming stops.

A few laps of the small oval observe laid out for me although, and issues began to fall into the place.

There is not any house for a human driver, however the passenger seat is free should you’re feeling courageous

Cones and confidence

As the arrogance flowed I turned extra aggressive on the throttle down the straights, braking later and turning extra easily. 

The controls develop into intuitive surprisingly shortly, particularly should you’ve spent many, many hours with a PlayStation controller in your hand.

The largest battle for me was the view. Following in a automobile behind it was generally tough to gauge simply the place the GT-R was on the observe, however in contrast to a few of my companions I managed to keep away from consuming any cones.

By the tip of my session I used to be reverse bay-parking the GT-R into a delegated space. I did not wish to cease. 

A remaining dash to the beginning/cease line, and an egotistical flick of the yellow marker cone with the front-right wing of the automobile signaled the tip of my time behind the controller.

It is not the tip of the street for the GT-R R/C although, and whereas Sony and Nissan haven’t any agency plans on what they’re going to do subsequent with the automobile, aside from take it to a collection of occasions to point out it off to most of the people, it might develop into an fascinating studying support.

Dr Brighton, who’s constructed greater than 70 full-size remote-control automobiles together with vehicles, boats, buses and vehicles. says he’d prefer to tour it round colleges as a method of encouraging children to get into STEM topics (science, expertise, engineering and arithmetic) – and had this rolled as much as my faculty once I was 15 it might have positively peaked my curiosity in engineering and robotics. 

As a substitute, right here I’m, a easy phrase monkey tapping away on his mechanical keyboard with simply sufficient talent to perhaps repair the damaged highlight within the kitchen, however little else.

On the flip aspect although, seems I am fairly darn good at driving full-size distant management vehicles. Is viable job? No? Okay, I am going to persist with the phrases then.

  • John McCann is getting behind the wheel to present you another take a look at the wealth of vehicles – and the tech inside them – obtainable immediately. From superfast sports activities vehicles to tech-packed hatchbacks, he’ll take you thru a variety of makes, fashions, energy and worth tags in his common TR Drives column.

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