September 29, 2023, 2:06 PM ·

Imagine a theme park ride where your ride vehicle goes along one path, only to be picked up by a robot arm and then plunked down on another.

Disney has just filed a patent application for such an arrangement: Systems and Methods for Transferring a Passenger Compartment Between Ride Systems Using Robotic Tool Changers. It’s just one of several interesting patent applications filed by Disney this week.Disney has plenty of scenes in its animated movies that feel like thrill rides on screen, including the door chase in Monsters Inc. and the luggage belts in Toy Story 2. The system described in Disney’s patent application this week could allow the company to create even wilder experiences in real life. The application details a system in which a robot arm would engage a passenger compartment, such as a joined pair of ride seats, then disengage them from their current ride track, move them to another, and then engage them with that subsequent ride track before the arm disengages from the passenger compartment. And the system could enable that to happen over and over again. Here’s what it might look like.Not wild enough for you? The application notes that “In some instances, a passenger may control a movement of the passenger compartment.”Disney used multiple ride systems on its Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction, including placing a trackless ride vehicle on a motion base and then into a drop chamber. But this would take the transfer of ride seats among different ride systems to a new level.

Disney this week also filed a patent application for a Procedural Animation Engine and Editor for Sample-Based Design of Stylized Walking Gaits for Bipedal Robots. In short, it’s a system by which Disney can program two-legged robots to walk by themselves in a specific way. Plenty of companies have come out with walking robots at this point. But the way a character walks can be part of its personality. Disney’s patent application proposes a system that accounts for that in the robot’s programming.Finally, Disney has filed two patent applications regarding entertainment systems for vehicles, such as your automobile. Both applications describe systems that would surround your vehicle with entertainment, such as when you were parked to charge your electric vehicle. Imagine, instead of driving up to some boring Supercharger off an Interstate, you drove into a 15-minute Disney attraction instead. That would make roadtrips a whole lot more fun. Gimme some Drive-In Disney, please.You can see those patent applications here: Entertainment System for a Vehicle and Vehicle Entertainment System and Method.To keep up to date with more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider’s weekly newsletter. And to help support Theme Park Insider while saving money on discounted theme park tickets, please follow the ticket icon links our Theme Park visitors guides.

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