Robots & VR Make for a Wild Ride

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If you frequent amusement parks, you’re probably familiar with variations of fast, quick, and express passes, which allow you to skip long wait lines. These passes run on IoT through a virtual queueing system that assigns visitors to specific ride times in an attempt to keep lines short.

But IoT can do much more than manage lines for attractions. A few years ago, Disney released the MagicBand – an IoT wearable that functions as a visitor’s park ticket, credit card, hotel room key, restaurant reservation, fast pass and access to photos taken by park photographers.

The advantage of such a system allows visitors to move quickly through the park – with less time spent waiting in ticket, ride and purchase lines. This allows more time to enjoy the park – increasing visitor satisfaction and available time to visit park stores and concessions. A recent study shows most amusement park goers want intelligence systems to make their visits as hassle-free as possible and to personalize their experience.

The Future of Amusement Park Entertainment

Customer experience isn’t the only thing getting an IoT upgrade. Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are trending in amusement parks and other attraction destinations as efforts increase to tell more engaging stories and enrich visitor experiences.

A number of rollercoasters are incorporating virtual reality at parks such as SeaWorld, Six Flags , Cedar Point, Disney and Universal Studios. Riders wear virtual headsets that transport them to other worlds while they ride the track.

Disney is also adding autonomous robots to their parks. More than static animatronics, these robotic creatures are conceptualized as actors and interact with guests in life-like ways. Human-like robots are also in development that may one day perform in park shows or interact with guests as characters. Combing the two technologies, Disney’s “Secrets of the Empire” Star Wars experience includes more than a virtual overlay.

In China, a full virtual reality amusement park opened, spanning 330 acres and 35 VR rides. South Korea opened a fully robotic amusement park with 22 rides, 11 exhibitions and its own research facility to promote the robotics industry.

As technology continues to advance, we may see our amusement parks completely transformed with more interactive, immersive experiences.