The short answer, yes you can drive a Nissan GT-R using a remote, not just any remote, a Sony PlayStation DualShock controller. This is Nissan’s way of saying that they have been involved with Gran Turismo Sport for 20 years and its about time they took the car out from the game and into the physical world.
The GT-R /C was put through its paces by NISMO athlete and GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough around Silverstone’s famous National Circuit. Mardenborough controlled the GT-R /C from the cockpit of a helicopter. On Mardenborough’s fastest lap (1:17:47), the GT-R /C averaged 122 kmh and reached a top speed of 211 kmh. I am surprised he didn’t crash the car at all!
The GT-R /C is fitted with four robots that operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle. Six computers mounted in the rear of the car update the controls at up to 100 times a second.
The unmodified DualShock®4 connects to a micro-computer that interprets the joystick and button signals and transmits them to the GT-R /C’s onboard systems. The wireless operation has a primary control range of one kilometer.
To help Mardenborough judge the vehicle’s speed through the corners, a Racelogic VBOX Motorsport sensor was installed to relay speed data to a LCD display in the helicopter cockpit.
The GT-R /C is also fitted with two independent safety systems, operating on different radio frequencies, which allow two additional operators to apply full ABS braking and cut the engine in the event of the main operator losing control of the vehicle.
“This was once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff,” said Mardenborough. “The GT-R /C has brought my two worlds together – the virtual of gaming and the reality of motorsport – in a way I never thought possible. The response from the car when using the controller was far more engaging than I thought it would be. JLB Design has done an incredible job at making everything respond really well. Steering, acceleration and braking were all intelligently configured, allowing for controlled application so I could really get a feel through the corners and hold it steady down the fast straights. Driving a full-size, remote-control GT-R to 131 mph at Silverstone whilst chasing it down in a helicopter was an unforgettable experience. Now that’s innovation that excites!”
In 2018, the Nissan GT-R /C will be used in a tour of primary and secondary schools in the UK to promote future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects.