Dimitar Tilev has created what is possibly the most realistic remote control car we’ve ever seen, and it has nothing to do with the toy’s paint job or immaculate detailing. Underneath the hood is a simulated suspension system that makes the whole car appear to accurately rock and wobble in response to its motor revving and the vehicle accelerating and braking.
Tilev goes into quite a bit of detail about the build over on his Super Scale blog, including a surprising reveal that a vast majority of this vehicle is 3D printed including the wheels, tires, structural components, and the body of the 1963 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 Wagon this creation is based on. Because the replica weighs in at around seven-and-a-half pounds, had Tilev used miniature springs for its suspension the scaled-down bouncing movements in response to it driving and stopping it wouldn’t have looked very realistic. Realism was one of his primary goals with this build that took over a year to complete.
The solution was to trade miniature springs for equally tiny servos, one in each corner of the car, that created an active suspension system. You’ve probably seen similar setups demonstrated with over-the-top low-riders that can raise and lower their bodies several feet off the ground, but the servos here are used to create a much subtler effect. Also hidden away inside this RC car is an Arduino board that monitors signals from an accelerator in real-time about the vehicle’s X and Y-axis movements. The data from the accelerator is used to calculate how the simulated suspension points one every wheel would move in a real-world situation were the car was actually full sized.
So when the ‘63 Oldsmobile wagon accelerates, the front of the car appears to raise up while the back lowers, and the opposite happens when it’s brought to a stop, with some additional simulated jiggling that quickly subsides to help further sell the entire effect. The RC toy even lurches from side to side when the engine is revved in response to the torque from the engine. Again, it’s all simulated through fake engine noises and even tiny glowing LEDs in the tail pipes, but the effect is incredibly convincing. With the right lighting, camera lens, and framing, you could potentially capture some footage of this vehicle in action that would be incredibly convincing and hard to discern from the real thing.