Disney Patents Immersive Drive-In Theater To Pass The Time While You Charge Your Car or Wait for Curbside Pickup

    A new patent from Disney aims to reimagine the waiting game that you play in your car. From waiting for a pick-up order from a take-out restaurant to spending an hour charging your car on a long road trip, there are a few scenarios where Disney is looking to reimagine the experience of waiting around in your car using immersive technology that is readily available and used in its theme parks already.

    In the patent, Disney starts off by describing how modern cars have increasingly sophisticated onboard computing and infotainment systems, but the medium to deliver the content (sometimes small screens on a dashboard) is hardly immersive.

    While Disney does describe conditions where drivers of a combustion-driven vehicle will sit and wait in their car, we’ll focus on the electric vehicle aspect described in the patent. Disney says that electric vehicles may need long periods of non-driving time to charge. During that time, occupants may find themselves in their vehicle with little to do while their vehicle charges – sometimes for several hours depending on charging time and desired charge levels.

    To fix that problem, Disney envisions an immersive entertainment pod where people can drive their vehicle into an immersive pod and be fully surrounded by entertainment while they wait for their car to charge (or, for example, for a to-go order to be completed).

    Inside the pod could be a charging area for your vehicle to connect to, but also a way for the surrounding entertainment pod to integrate with your vehicle. As seen in the patent image below, you would drive your vehicle into the pod and then be surrounded by entertainment. In the implementation imagined in the patent, you would be able to “drive” around a safari and experience different animals while your vehicle charges.

    The external entertainment content would integrate with your vehicle’s infotainment system and controls to allow you to “drive” through a scene.

    In many ways, the implementation reminds us of how the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction works. For a behind-the-scenes look at how the cockpit flies through space, check out our earlier article.

    In a separate but related patent, Disney shows an implementation of a different system that would be for a shorter period of time than the hour-long charging session seen above. In the implementation below, vehicles would enter a structure designed to present immersive content during a predetermined length of time. An example given would be for curbside pickup. While you wait for your curbside pickup to be readied, you can drive your vehicle into a structure that would display immersive entertainment while guiding your vehicle along a path.

    In this closer look, you can see that a vehicle would be enveloped by content via projection screens on all sides of the vehicle while it is guided along a pathway through the structure. The pathway could be via a conveyor or even in-car communications with self-driving features. At its most basic, it could function like an automated car wash does, but Disney allows for increasingly complex implementations in the patent.

    In both patents, Disney looks to solve the problem of waiting in your car by doing what the company does best – entertaining.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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