The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Walt Disney World is planning a pilot program to begin later this year to transport Cast Members in cast-only parking lots using autonomous electric vehicles. The company is reportedly in talks with two manufacturers, Local Motors, based in Phoenix, Arizona, and Navya, based in Paris, France. The photo below shows a Navya vehicle, which holds 12-15 passengers.
If the pilot program goes well, the driverless shuttles could be rolled out to public areas in 2018. The state of Florida has relatively few restrictions on driverless vehicle deployment on privately-owned land. The vehicles would be geofenced, which means they would be restricted to designated areas only, which have been fully mapped and loaded into the vehicle’s navigation system. This geofencing, along with cameras, radar, and laser sensors, would ensure the safety of the passengers and those around the vehicle.
It appears that Walt Disney World is finally realizing that the ubiquitous busses used to transport guests are really not that magical, no matter how many colors of LED lights are affixed to the interior. With the rumors of gondolas gaining steam, and now driverless shuttles, it appears we’re heading into a renaissance of cool transportation options at Walt Disney World.
Editor’s Note: Yes, we know how to spell busses. We spell it just like they did in the 50’s, when Disneyland opened.