Universal Patents New Ride Vehicle System

Photo by Travel Caffeine

A patent produced by Universal City Studios LLC, a division of Universal Parks & Resorts, was granted today (the patent was filed in July 2014 and previously published in January 2016, but wasn’t approved until today) titled Vehicle Transportation Room System and Method. According to the patent, the “system may include a ride vehicle disposed on a ride path and a launch room vehicle may be configured to align with the ride vehicle on the ride path and include an at least partial room.”

Side view of launch room vehicle including a partial room housing a ride vehicle (United States Patent and Trademark Office)

The launch room may include three walls — the left side wall, right side wall, and back wall — to include show elements (as seen in the above image). The show elements “may be configured to operate [at the same time] with the movement of the launch room vehicle and the ride vehicle”; “the launch room may be configured to move with and propel the ride vehicle and . . . break contact.” The launch room vehicles may include show elements such as displays, strobe lights, animatronic characters, fog machines, and more. The use of such elements may create an illusion that the ride vehicle is being moved by “an entity presented in the partial room” (this is in the launch room). The patent’s example states, “the animatronic characters may represent a monster, wizard, or other entity that appears to cast a spell upon the ride vehicle.” Lighting, electricity, and smoke effects may be incorporated in the displays to “help conjure up the reality of the entity casting [a] spell.” Additionally, weather simulation, earthquakes, and other effects may be employed with the use of this system.

“At some point, another entity may be presented in the partial room by utilizing show elements. A finale of effects produced by the show elements may cause the second entity to interrupt the first entity’s spell and trigger the ride vehicle to break contact with and launch from the launch room vehicle. In this way, the patrons may experience an exciting show during the motivating portion that enhances the launch experience and likeability of the ride attraction. By employing the launch room vehicle and its show elements in conjunction with particular themes, such as traditional movies or video games, guests are . . . further enabled to enjoy the thematic and/or theatrical experience provided.”

The system explained in this patent allows guests to experience more realistic effects in a more personal, up-close approach; it opens a new way to immerse guests into experiences like never before. Though the patent does not reveal information about which attraction or IP this system can be incorporated into — should it come to fruition — it does use keywords like “wizard” and “video games,” which could possibly tie into a wizard/magical themed property, Universal’s Nintendo project, or perhaps something entirely different.

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