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Theme Parks & Show Control: Yorkshire’s Automation 4 Ltd wins contract with Ferrari World Abu Dhabi


Yorkshire based Specialist Software and Technology Company, Automation 4 Ltd, has won a maintenance and support contract with Farah Leisure Parks Management LLC, the operators of the world’s first iconic Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, after successfully delivering the behind the scenes specialist software for selected rides.

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No stranger to the world of theme park software, the Company was key technology supplier to Soccer Circus in Dubai, the Middle East’s first interactive soccer attraction.  Automation 4 Ltd was also subcontractor to the main AV supplier and Jack Rouse Associates, the designers of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, in the latter stages of development and the commissioning period prior to the opening in October 2010.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the largest indoor and the only Ferrari theme park in the world, with 20 Ferrari inspired rides and attractions and a priceless collection of more than 30 vintage and contemporary Ferraris. Featuring high adrenaline rides, fun learning attractions suitable for guests of all ages and a unique taste of Italy through its authentic dining experiences, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the premier family entertainment centre in the region.  Automation 4 was selected for its experience in show control software and its presence in the Middle East and was responsible for integrating the audio, visual and effects using specialist software from Paris based Medialon Show Control.   The Company will now look after the maintenance, support and ongoing developments at the Park.

Managing director Tim Groves established Automation 4 Ltd in 2004 to supply the need for industrial automation products in the theme park and visitor attraction markets, “The audio visual industry is well established in the theme park and visitor attractions market, ” comments Tim,   “however, the ever increasing demand for state of the art technology has opened up opportunities for companies like us to provide cutting edge solutions, using industrial automation products and IP based show control software.  The application of these technologies can dramatically enhance the audio visual and special effects, giving the visitor a greater ride experience”.

Contracted by the main AV supplier and Jack Rouse Associates, Automation 4 Ltd provided a complete AV automation and show control solution for each ride or attraction, along with a Park wide supervisory control system and operations scheduler system.  Medialon Manager V5 Pro was selected for the ten most technically intense rides, whilst AMX controllers were used for audio paging safety video signage control in the remaining less complex attractions.

Automation 4 Ltd was responsible for the software that controls eight rides/attractions, including one of the world’s most sophisticated simulators on Speed of Magic. In this sophisticated high-tech fantasy ride passengers will travel through real-life extremes in temperature, moisture, light and movement that heighten the senses in an interactive journey through a fantasy ecosystem. Guests follow the adventures of a young boy as he travels through 4-D dreamscapes ranging from deep green jungles to icy caves, from the bottom of the ocean to the mouth of a fiery volcano, in the pursuit of ‘Nello’ – a mischievous animated character from another world. The Company implemented the complete show control solution for this cutting edge thrill ride.  The entire system, including background music and lighting effects used to build the anticipation in the queue area, the projected video and lighting show in the pre-show area and the automated safety video and ride paging system, are all under the control of a single Medialon Manager V5 Pro license, along with the main show scenes in the ride.

The company also provided software control systems for V12. This state of the art flume ride takes guests on an amazing journey into the heart of a Ferrari 12-cylinder engine. Guests will be dwarfed, riding through the grill of a Ferrari 599, floating through the pistons chamber and dynamic moving parts of the burning heart of the engine where the power of a Ferrari originates, crossing through chambers, vaulted spaces and tight squeezes, before plunging down through the engine and out the exhaust pipe. This family attraction uses lighting and audio effects in a series of theatrical and spectacularly lit environments, recreating the various elements of the engine.  Once again, Automation 4 Ltd used Medialon Manager V5 Pro as the master show controller for the ride alongside a Medialon MAS 48 channel audio server. 

One of the most technically challenging attractions, Pit Wall, offers visitors an interactive live theatre show and the Company used Medialon Manager along with a 7th Sense Delta video server to create a totally interactive 48 seat voting theatre.  This interactive theatre gives fans the opportunity to test their judgment in a number of realistic racing scenarios. Before the race, a live host will introduce the team, the track and the conditions and help guests evaluate their car and driver. Guests will then be put in the driver’s seat – calling the shots in terms of tyre choice, fuel stops and overtaking strategy before seeing how the driver fares against the rest.Made in Maranello takes visitors through the Ferrari factory and history of the famous brand. The team also worked on The Racing Legends, an inspiring journey that takes guests through great moments in Ferrari racing history, as well as Driving with the Champion, an interactive movie that follows the adventures of a young engineer who is taken on the ride of a lifetime with a racing champion on his first day working at the Ferrari factory.

“We work closely with the consultants and AV integrators on the project from as early as possible, using our knowledge and understanding of the Automation and Show Control Software and industrial automation systems, which allow us to streamline the design and plan the control software solution before even seeing a rack of equipment.  This prior planning ensures the smooth implementation of the programming stage of the project and ultimately ensures its success, ” continued Tim Groves.

About Automation 4 Ltd.

Specialising in automating processes to reduce the amount of human intervention, Automation 4 Ltd, established in 2004, operates in the industrial, entertainment, commercial and home sectors for clients including Dupont, Johnson & Johnson, BBC Glasgow, London Transport Museum, Alton Towers, Centre Parks, and the legendary rock band, The Eagles to name but some.

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