Thursday, April 23, 2020

Universal Patents Autonomous Vehicle Transit System

We keep saying this but one of the most interesting Twitter bots to follow is Universal Orlando Permit Bot. The bot scrapes various government sites to pull applications, permits, and patents for the resort. We have been able to track progress on attractions like Diagon Alley, Kong, Velocicoaster, and more through these permits.

Today the bot scraped up a handful of USPO patents including a very interesting one.

Autonomous Vehicle Transportation Systems and Methods covers autonomous vehicles on the ground that interact and can board gondolas for park travel. The general gist of the patent focuses on the systems and communication paths between the autonomous vehicles, gondola systems, and a control station. The patent applicant is a director at Universal Creative, having worked in the company for 13 years.

Image from USPO application.
While in the abstract the patent talks about inner park travel among locations it's easy to see how such a system would easily apply to between park transportation. Even looking at the patent image you can easily see what could be I-4 with USF and IoA in the upper left, Volcano Bay in the lower left, and new resorts and Epic Universe on the right.

Because Universal applies for a patent does not mean they are actively looking on a project involving it or that their examples are analogous to what they're planning. A massive gondola system over private properties and public roads is a legal nightmare. It's also possible the actual systems are overstated or blue sky.

What the permits applied for today do show is an ambitious plan for Epic Universe and the future of the Universal Orland Resort.

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