Nissan unleashes the ultimate radio-control vehicle

Kelley Robertson
October 12, 2017

"The response from the auto when using the controller was far more engaging than I thought it would be".

So it's entirely appropriate that to celebrate the upcoming release of Gran Turismo Sport, the newest entry in the series, Nissan put together a special one-off GT-R that the driver controls not by gripping the wheels or stepping on the pedals, but by using a PlayStation 4 controller. If you have never driven a fast RC auto, you might not know how hard it is to control the vehicle when it is coming towards you, controls are reversed in that instance.

Mardenborough put the GT-R/C through its paces around the Silverstone national circuit, by controlling it from the cockpit of a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter, which was specially permitted to operate at a low altitude.

Celebrating the release of Gran Turismo Sport - and marking 20 years of Nissan involvement in the Gran Turismo gaming series - the one-off project vehicle was extensively modified to be driven entirely by a DualShock4 controller. With this, Mardenborough was able to post a fastest lap of 1:17.47 at the circuit, with an average speed of 122km/h. Gran Turismo Sport will be released in the USA on October 17, in Europe and Australia on October 18, and in Japan on October 19. Hopefully, they will allow others to race cars with PlayStation 4 controllers in the future.

The GT-R/C was modified by JLB Design with four robot servos to operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle.

Six computers in the boot update controls 100 times a second.

During the run, a micro-computer transmitted inputs from the controller to the GT-R's on-board systems. As a victor of the Nissan GT Academy competition that combines virtual racing with actual track races, Mardenborough was a natural choice for the task. The vehicle has a wireless operation range of about one kilometer.

"This was once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff", Mardenborough said.

Next year the GT-R/C will be used on a tour of primary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom to promote future careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In the meantime, you can check out the GT-R stunt below.

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