4 Things You Need To Know About Disney’s Drones

from Forbes‘ Greg McNeal

In May of this year, prominent drone attorney Brendan Schulman and I appeared on a panel at the Association of Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI) trade show. AUVSI is the lobbying group for the drone industry, an industry that is begging the FAA to promulgate regulations to govern the use of drones. On the panel, Brendan and I argued that the FAA’s regulations needed to be carefully crafted, lest they stifle innovation. A few hours later we were standing in the Harry Potter Diagon Alley exhibit at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida. For the show, AUVSI rented out the entire exhibit for the exclusive use of trade show attendees. The sprawling exhibit was a picture perfect scene that made visitors feel as if they were in the town surrounding the Hogwarts Castle. As we looked at the Hogwarts Castle, I turned to Schulman and said, “You know what’s missing from this? Flying broomsticks.” Schulman nodded, “That’s right, they just need drones!” We both chuckled and I jokingly tweeted ”What Universal needs at Harry Potter park…drones with broomsticks.”

Well, it turns out the joke was actually a pretty good idea. Disney Enterprises the rival of Universal Studios has filed a patent application for the use of drones. The company calls their invention an “
aerial display system with marionettes articulated and supported by airborne devices.” Here are four things you should know about Disney’s plans:

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Disney Plans To Use Drones For Complex And Innovative Aerial Demonstrations.
Disney’s vision is exciting and the application reinforces the arguments that drone proponents have been making for years — let people innovate and develop new uses for this technology. The company envisions using drones as part of an aerial display system consisting of multicopters and aerial marionettes or puppets supported by drones. The system will have a fully integrated ground control station that directs the operation of multiple drones or individually operated drones as part of the display. Disney says drones can solve a problem with aerial displays which have been “limited in how easy it has been to alter the choreography and to provide a repeatable show.”

What Disney wants to do is teach an aerial display system to control multiple drones that can carry blimp-sized marionettes or puppets. Many Disney characters fly in their stories, but accord