Disney Patents Robotic Transfer of Ride Vehicles Between Two Different Ride Systems During Attraction Experience

    A newly filed Disney patent outlines the use of a robotic tool to transfer a passenger compartment from one ride system to a secondary ride system. In the patent, Disney describes a variety of uses for this technology, including improving efficiency on omnimover-style attractions, or even creating a single experience that uses a variety of ride systems such as an attraction that starts as a slow-moving dark ride, but then transforms into a suspended roller coaster.

    First, here’s a look at the implementation, complete with passenger compartments on one track, a robotic tool in the middle of the tracks, and a secondary track with a different attraction experience.

    Disney describes a common connector on two different tracks that secures the passenger compartment, but a robotic arm tool that safely transfers the ride vehicle between the two tracks.

    In the patent, Disney says that this technology would have a variety of use cases, including a use case aimed at making rides more accessible and creating a better experience for all guests. While it’s not included in the patent specifically, we can see this system creating a better experience for guests riding The Haunted Mansion. Currently, the ride must slow down or stop for guests who require more time to load into the ride. This puts pressure on the guests to load in a timely manner, while creating a hiccup in the ride experiences for guests “downstream” as the attraction comes to a stop.

    With this new technology, guests would be able to load into a stationary ride vehicle taking as much time or care as they need before being loaded onto the continuously moving second track. This is essentially what is in place with the Disney Skyliner gondola system where the accessible vehicle is on a secondary track that is stopped while guests load. When the accessible vehicle is ready, it merges onto the main loop with very little disruption to the flow of guests and no stoppage in the ride experience.

    Taking this technology a step further, Disney outlines a couple of use cases that exist solely for storytelling and not accessibility. In the patent Disney describes using the robotic arm for “implementations [that]…enable a combination of multiple ride systems, thereby providing a unique passenger experience”. Some examples they provide include

    • Transferring a passenger compartment between a dark ride vehicle ride system and a suspended coaster
    • Transferring a passenger compartment between a boat system and a road-based system
    • Picking up a dark ride vehicle with a robotic arm
    • Passing a passenger compartment between two robotic arms

    One patent image (seen below) appears to show an implementation where a robotic arm picks up a ride vehicle before setting it back down again.

    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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