As Garnet Hertz sped towards the road in his OutRun concept car, I momentarily feared that he might get splattered by oncoming traffic. After all, gauging your surroundings can be difficult when your windshield is replaced with a video game.
Hertz describes the OutRun car as the “de-simulation of driving.” It’s the arcade cabinet from Sega’s 1986 racing game, fitted around a golf cart, with the game’s steering wheel and pedals hooked up to the drivetrain. More importantly, it’s a modified version of the OutRun software, blocking the view to the road. A pair of hood-mounted cameras are supposed to detect the road and feed the information back to the game, but this was impossible in the dark. Hertz was driving blind.
Of course, Hertz made it back to the crowd at Indiecade in one piece, but he wouldn’t let anyone else drive, so I made a video of him driving the Outrun car instead.
Hertz said he wants to add obstacle detection to the program, and to create a mobile augmented reality app that would render the world around you in old-school video game graphics. For now he’s just freaking people out by driving it around.
If you’re in Los Angeles, you can see the OutRun car at the Ben Maltz gallery through December 4, and a drive through public streets is scheduled for November 6. You can find out more about the project at Hertz’s website.