Toyota "Backseat Driver" app lets preschoolers steer a bubbly car

We're all in favor of getting children interested in cars at an early age, but leave it to Toyota to take the idea and run with it through an iPhone game that lets preschoolers steer along with their parents.

While the free "Backseat Driver" app, the first from a new arm of the company called ToyToyota, looks like a Japanese-only game, it's available in the United States and works on American roads — or at least in my neighborhood. Using the phone's GPS, the app lets kids drive a "Mama Car," following the same route driven by their parents, while a "Papa Car" ahead poops little cartoon prizes. Collect enough prizes and the kiddos can customize their car with sparkly paint, then share their successes on Twitter.

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This is pretty much how it works in the adult world too — at least, in Toyota's version of it. To try the fun in iPhone variety, go here.

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DISCUSSION

Call me weird, but this is what my childhood imagination was like.

Instead of imaginary friends, I have Imaginary cars that travel with me whenever I go for a car ride with my parents.

I would imagine it right outside the window, tagging along racing on the sidewalk swerving around pedestrians, jumping fences, digging tunnels and popping back out, etc.

It would also have some crazy mods like a drill in the front, jet skis, wings and rocket propulsion like Jacky Chan's Subaru in Cannonball run.

I always enjoyed car ride because of that.

So I guess Kids don't need imagination anymore ... there's an app for it!