Hit those coins! Real-life Mario Kart ride set for Japan theme park debut

Get in line now

If you’ve ever wanted to actually hop into one of those crazy cars in Mario Cart, it looks like you’ll finally get your chance. That’s right, you’ll be able to take the wheel at the Mario Kart Experience at Super Nintendo World in Japan… when it gets built. They’re at the groundbreaking stages right now but the theme park is expected to open in Osaka in 2020, just a few years from now.

Three lucky guys with great hats and size triple XL white gloves got to break the big news and said that the Mario Kart attraction will be the “most immersive and cutting-edge technological attraction that we could have possibly have imagined.” Another official said their aim is to give fans an immersive experience that feels like they’re really inside a video game. Sounds just about perfect to us, 2020 can’t get here fast enough.

Robot, take the wheel

Speaking of driving, Honda says they’re aiming for 2025 as the year they roll out Level-4 self-driving production cars. No word yet on if they’ll be at Mario Kart, but Honda has been fairly conservative in its outlook for autonomous cars, and the new deadline is a full 5 years later than many other automakers have said they want to have self-driving cars on the road.

Quick refresher on autonomous car levels: Level 3 cars require a driver in the driver’s seat to take over at a moment’s notice, sort of like what Tesla is doing now, while a Level 4 car can pretty much do all the driving – but still requires someone in the driver’s seat. Level 5 cars, like the cute Google/Waymo research car, can actually cover any driving situation and may not include any driver controls whatsoever. Those cars are still a ways off from a public debut.

However, Honda’s president says that beginning this fall, all Honda cars sold in Japan will come with a suite of driver-assist features called Honda Sensing. Will 2025 be too late to market for Honda as self-driving car tech matures? Considering how many carmakers are looking to have autonomous cars on the road just three years from now, it might be… or they could be right on time.

Just don’t hack our Mario Karts

Data security remains a hot topic, with computer and software makers constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Microsoft is trying to lead the fight and has scooped up Israeli cybersecurity firm Hexadite in a $100 million deal. Hexadite uses AI and machine learning tech to prevent against hacker attacks, and Microsoft says they’ll eventually include the tech in their commercial versions of Windows 10, which feature a suite of protection tools.

AI-based computer and data protection services are a growing niche in the industry, and Microsoft isn’t alone in their quest for effective startups like Hexadite: Amazon reeled in Harvest AI last year in a bid to shore up their defenses as well. Here’s hoping it makes a difference.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.