Ever since my first ride on the monorail at Disneyland I’ve had a fascination with Mass Transit. A ride on the PeopleMover energized my idea of personal rapid transit the same way. Unfortunately, I’ve been disappointed by the lack of wider adoption of these technologies beyond the gates of Disney and even at Disney itself. I’m told the bus system for Disney resort guests drives more guest complaints than any other part of the resort experience..
Recently, I proposed a few potential solutions to solve the problem of Walt Disney World’s boring and inefficient transportation system.
Gondolas – the most affordable solution.
Hyperloop – an exciting new solution.
But there’s been recent action on the one solution I think is most likely, and possibly most affordable for Disney – The Google Self-Driving Car.
Google has just announced that they’ll be developing their own car with Google Self-Driving Car technology built in. The plans are for it to operate as a taxi service, at first with a person in the drivers seat who can take over if needed, then later with no one in the driver seat, or perhaps no driver seat at all. For as you can see in the photo above, once the LIDAR technology is set on top and a few cameras and optical devices are added on the front and back, there really is no requirement for the size or look and feel of the car other than it have wheels of some sort.
In fact, if they wanted to, they could build something more akin to a beefier version the Heathrow Airport Driverless Podcar. The only difference is that with Google Self-Driving Car technology, the podcars wouldn’t need their own separate track, they could run right on the regular roadway. Rail or monorail beam construction is a large expense when it comes to mass transit and one of the reasons Disney has decided to invest in more buses instead.
It’s likely that major parking lots would be shifted to the periphery of the resort, but no matter where you parked, a Disney shuttle with Google Self-Driving Car technology would be waiting at a nearby station to whisk you away to your preferred destination.
Google Cars would be a huge win for Disney on multiple levels. Having this on-demand travel would eliminate the huge guest satisfaction issue the current bus system engenders. Resort guests would be more likely to travel to other parts of the resort at night driving up spending. If one Google Car went down, it would only reduce capacity by 4 to 8 passengers as opposed to 42 on a bus.
But most of all, it would make transportation at Disney World cool again.
(Google Car Photo via CC-License by MarkDoliner, Heathrow Podcar cc-Licenced from Wikipedia Commons.)
Hmmm….I don’t think that will really help at all. This will just add to the congestion on the road and with the way tourists drive and take quick cuts across lanes to get the exit they barely miss….it’s just a recipe for disaster.
I like the Hyperloop idea the most…but it may be more affordable to just improve and extend the monorail system.
I’m sure there will be studies, but with passenger cars parked on the outer areas of the resort it would actually reduce traffic and provide the most efficient alternate route if there was an incident
They would need so many of these cars to make it work. I’m not sure that would be practical. I agree that something is needed beyond the current bus system.
I’m not comfortable with the idea of putting that much faith in Google or their driverless car technology. A cheaper version of the monorail concept still gets my vote.
Well though, the whole “driverless taxi” announcement was somewhat untrue. It originated from a TechCrunch posting that was dated “July 2023”. Lots of people ran with it as a breaking “Google wants driverless taxis” story but – nope. You can put that to rest for the moment.
Well, that changes things.
The self-driving car will never work for mass transit. The energy costs would be astronomical, whether it was for gasoline or for electricity for charging them. The only cost-effective way to move people is with a system that moves large numbers of people with relatively few vehicles, like with buses or monorails.
Disney will never adopt a system that costs MORE than the existing systems.
The costs of energy can be offset by using electric powered cars, more efficient traffic patterns, and by covering the stations in solar panels. I’m not an electrical engineer, but I doubt they’d be astronomical compared to the total costs of transportation for all guests in personal and Disney owned vehicles around the resort.
I could see Disney using the technology to eliminate the need for the bus drivers. How does Google, or Nissan just announced it’s own ambitions, deal with bicycle riders and wacky pedestrians.
I’ve always enjoyed the boat rides. Dig more canals and add boats.
Separate lanes for the pod cars, like exclusive bus lanes in some cities, probably would be the best. You could even reserve your pod with your magic band.
Start with a small model and then gear up. Autotopia anyone?