The company's Disney Enterprises Inc subsidiary suggests its
proposed drone-powered air shows could serve as an alternative
to spectacles such as fireworks and large-scale light shows,
according to its patent applications.
In filing for the patents, Disney joins a list of companies
pressing for the U.S. government to allow commercial use of
small unmanned flight systems long associated with military and
The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of
drafting rules for the commercial use of drones for everything
from TV news coverage to package delivery to crop monitoring.
Disney Enterprises Inc published the three patent applications
Aug. 21 for what it called aerial display systems with floating
pixels, floating projection screens and marionettes held aloft
and animated by drones.
The drones would be pre-programmed and controlled from the
ground and would monitor each other to remain synchronized and
prevent aerial collisions in the event of wind gusts, the
In the case of marionettes, a drone could carry a blimp-sized
character through the sky to simulate flight depicted in
passages from books and films, according to the patent
Other marionettes could be animated by a flock of drones
manipulating different limbs.
“This is a significant improvement over prior flying characters,
which typically were provided in the form of parade or other
blimps/balloons filled with hot air or other gases and that had
little and/or awkward articulation of any movable parts,” the
company said in its patent application.
The inventors for all three patents were listed as Clifford Wong
of Burbank, Ca., James Alexander Stark of South Pasadena, Ca.,
and Robert Scott Trowbridge of La Canada, Ca.
The company did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
(Reporting by Barbara Liston; Editing by Jonathan Kaminsky,
Victoria Cavaliere and Grant McCool)
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