Walt Disney World Rolling Out Driverless Shuttle Cars By Year’s End

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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.

About the author

Jason Diffendal

Jason has been a lifelong fan of the Disney parks since his first visit at age 2. His biennial pilgrimages during his childhood accelerated into semi-annual visits by the year 2000, when he also Joined the Disney Vacation Club. Luckily, Jason’s bride-to-be was also a Disney fan, which allowed his infatuation with the Disney parks to continue, and ultimately culminated in their wedding at Disney's Wedding Pavilion in September 2003. Early in 2007, Jason began his involvement with the planning for what became Celebration 25, the unofficial fan gathering to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Epcot®. Soon thereafter, Jason met Tom Corless at a pin trading meet in New Jersey, and became part of the WDW News Today podcast starting with Episode 17. Jason has been involved with the WDWNT Network ever since, and can't seem to escape no matter how hard he tries.
Contact Jason at [email protected]

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Nick
Guest
Nick

Yes. Cool now this is something I can enjoy!

Jeany Sanchez
Guest
Jeany Sanchez

Awesome! I can enjoy! Yes Cool!

Ryan B
Guest
Ryan B

You can always ride the busses.

Progressive Music Lover
Guest
Progressive Music Lover

Useless story…….who cares.

Awesome Amy
Guest
Awesome Amy

Useless comment….. who cares?

Kirsten
Guest
Kirsten

There’s a lot of bus driver jobs that will be lost of this happens. That’s not very nice. And also I don’t trust anything automatic. Computers make mistakes too.

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

Progress and innovation costs people jobs, but makes society better, faster, and more affordable. Isn’t it convenient that you can place a phone call without having to speak to a telephone operator even though it was “not very nice” to innovate them out of their jobs? It also doesn’t cost $0.50 per minute to call someone out of town since the labor costs went down.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Easy to say now until your job becomes automated. One has to wonder how much better society will be when no one has a job because it’s been replaced by a computer. Won’t even be able to purchase a burger from that fancy new automated McDonald’s down the street. The reality behind this story is that this is a continuation of a disturbing trend that Disney has been practicing for a while now. Their parks and resorts division isn’t able to keep up with the unrealistic profit margins set by the executives who are rejoicing over the success from their… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Unsafe. I can bet that these driverless vans will be part of a new epidemic “Disney’s Killer Cars”. I predict that from its first run until the end of 2018 that there will be fatalities.

Trump needs to get involved and create a driverless car tax on companies that feel that hiring people for driving will save them money.

Make America Great Again
Hire American Make American

Two thumbs down, Disney destroys jobs with automatic driverless cars.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Quick correction from first comment. “Not hiring people will save them money.”

Mark
Guest
Mark

Where’s the PeopleMover? That’s what I always wanted to jump on out in the parking lot.

Ron
Guest
Ron

need more monorail tracks, i don’t see how that is Cheaper..lol I’m just a Monorail fan boy

Chris
Guest
Chris

Any idea on the cost of this project?

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