According to some patent applications that were submitted by Disney to the US Patent & Trademark Office, future theme park shows could star unmanned aerial vehicles.
Entertainment needs to keep up with the times to be… well, entertaining. Disney, the owner of some of the most popular theme parks in the world, is well aware of that, and is in a continuous pursuit for the latest and the greatest attractions that could breathe new life into its classic characters.
Despite what you might have thought, the drones won’t exactly play a central role. The three patents submitted by Disney depict the UAVs attached to giant marionettes so that it looks like the latter are flying. The Aerial Display System With Floating Pixels, as Disney called the first patent, relies on a ground station module for processing flight paths of a fleet of drones that each carry a payload.
The patent application includes the following explanation: “The aerial displays described herein were designed and created because it was understood by the inventors that many characters fly in their stories (such as in a book or movie) but, prior to the inventors’ aerial displays, it was typically not technically feasible to create a flying object that mimics the characters such as due to size, weight, dimensions, or other design challenges.”
Supposing that these three patents will be granted, Disney’s puppet shows will never be the same again. It’s not as if this is the first time Disney includes robots in its shows, but this time it takes things to a whole new level. It must have all started in 1963, when The Enchanted Tiki Room opened at Disneyland. That was a realm full of Audio Animatronic birds, flowers and tikis that should remind people that Disney has been in the robot-making business longer than some of today’s best-known robot makers.
Disney had better make sure that its UAVs will have a very secure connection to the ground station. Hackers may be tempted to play around with the drones, and these little flying objects may end up doing things they’re not supposed to. On top of that, battery life is yet another aspect that Disney should be concerned about and check before deploying the drones. No one would want a giant marionette to tumble upon them.
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