New Universal patents include boat ride innovations

Five patents filed by Universal City Studios LLC point towards new ride experiences at the park.

The patents come amid rife speculation surrounding the possibility of a new gate at the Orlando park.

One of the patents, called System and Method for Kinetic Rotation of a Ride Vehicle proposes a simple method for rotating the vehicle in flume or boat rides.

Unlike the expensive, high-tech methods to rotate the boat in Shanghai’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Universal’s method uses objects in the water to rotate the boat.

As the patent describes: “The vehicle may contact the one or more objects at a location that is a specific distance from the vehicle’s center of mass. Thus, once the vehicle contacts the one or more objects, the linear motion of the vehicle as it rides along the flow path may be transferred into rotational motion. The ride vehicle may continue to contact one or more of the objects until the ride vehicle has reached a desired degree of rotation.”

Other patents included a Variable Vehicle Ride Switch, which would change a ride vehicle’s direction mid-course, System and Method for Tracking Vehicles in Parking Structures and a Tracking System and Method for Use in Surveying Amusement Park Equipment.

Systems for Ride Vehicle Restraint describes a new method for accommodating “guests of a wide spectrum of shapes and sizes” in safety restraints.

Last month, Universal filed five patents for new ride systems including new developments to motion simulators.

Earlier this year, Universal filed four patents pointing towards new systems and methods for integrating VR and AR into rides and experiences and the resort.

This isn’t the first time Universal has filed patents pointing towards the use of AR technology on its rides. However, as journalist Brady MacDonald points out, many patents never go beyond the patent office.

Images: United States Patent and Trademark Office

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