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Report: Driverless cars coming to Disney

3D printed shuttle directed by mobile app could soon transport tourists

Walt Disney World is reportedly planning to test driverless shuttles in the theme park. Later this year the shuttles are expected to transport Disney employees, with theme park guests expected to have access to the shuttles if those tests go well.

Self-driving cars made by Alphabet and Tesla are already on the roads in California, and Apple is set to test self-driving Lexus models there as well. But Disney is expected to conduct its tests in Florida rather than at Disneyland in California.

The company is said to be in advanced discussions with two different autonomous vehicle makers, one in the U.S. and one in France. France is home to the struggling Disneyland Paris theme park.

In the U.S., Disney is thought to be working with Local Motors of Phoenix. The company has developed a driverless shuttle called Olli powered by IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence software. Olli, which is built by 3D printers, works with a proprietary smartphone app called Modally that lets users book and pay online. The company is already running shuttles in the Washington, DC area.

Disney’s French partner is said to be Navya, which demonstrated its driverless shuttles at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Navya describes its vehicle, called the Arma, as “an electric, intelligent and autonomous shuttle at the service of mobility.” The company says the driverless shuttle can transport up to 15 passengers and safely drive up to 45 kilometers per hour, which is less than 30 miles per hour. Navya’s customers and partners include Nanyang Technological University, Sales-Lentz, Transdev and Curtin University.

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