Disney is hoping to use drones in their theme park presentations. First reported by the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Disney had recently applied for three UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) patents.
One for Aerial Display System with Floating Pixels with drones choreographed to form display of floating pixels in a manner similar to fireworks. The second, Aerial Display System with Floating Projection Screens, would be used by drones to fly and position flexible projection screens on which light could be reflected above a crowd. Lastly, Aerial Display System with Marionettes Articulated and Supported by Airborne Devices to manipulate the appendages of “blimp-sized” Disney character string puppets. In other words the Disney ‘blimp’ characters would become blimp drones.
The patent application states, “The inventors recognized that presently there are no mechanisms for creating very large aerial displays such as a display that is reusable/repeatable, dynamic, and interactive.” The application also tries to make the point that the drone scenario would be a safer and more efficient way to present the fireworks and the character parade. The drones would be pre-programmed and controlled from the ground and would monitor each other to remain synchronized and prevent aerial collisions in the event of wind gusts, the company said. In the case of marionettes, a drone could carry a blimp-sized character through the sky to simulate flight depicted in passages from books and films, according to the patent application.
Disney is not the only company pressing for the government to allow commercial use of small unmanned flight systems. The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of drafting rules for the commercial use of drones for everything from TV news coverage to package delivery to crop monitoring.
Would you see it as ‘cool’ or possibly dangerous to have drones flying above your head and marching past you in the Magic Kingdom to entertain you? I would probably think it pretty cool, but I’d probably also try to have a family escape route planned in my head, just in case.