Disneyland has answered the dream of every kid to ever watch Star Wars by adding free-roaming droids to their theme park. Currently, a group of adorable droids is undergoing testing to engage with visitors at the park’s Star Wars-inspired Galaxy’s Edge. Disney Imagineering has released videos highlighting the latest technology that enables free-roaming droids, known as “droids-in-training,” to engage with guests. The trio of cute robots visited the Batuu section of the park recently.
The droids, moving freely, strolled in a neat single-file line, echoing Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Along their path in Galaxy’s Edge, they exchanged greetings with other stationary droids and delighted visitors to Batuu.
A Batuuan-attired character meet-and-greet handler instructed the droids to perform a “life form check”. The droids scanned Disneyland visitors with white lights attached to their heads and twitching their ear-like antennae. In the playtest, a trio of operators controlled the droids from a few steps away, each equipped with a touchscreen tablet. As seen in the video, the robots had blue, green, and orange trims and were named BlueBot, Greenie, and Orange1.
Old-school fans likely wish for R2-D2 style droids to be roaming Disneyland. However, the design of the droids echoes the BD-1 style droids from the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game. The Beedee droids, also known as “buddy units,” were specifically created as companions to aid in research and exploration within remote and perilous regions throughout the vast expanse of the Star Wars galaxy.
The Magic Behind Disneyland’s New ‘Star Wars’ Droids
Of course, a huge range of robots have been introduced over the course of decades of Star Wars. However, a lot of painstaking research goes into these real-life free-roaming droids. Disney Research Associate Lab Director Moritz Bacher explains that the robots achieve life-like movements by skillfully imitating keyframe motions created by artists. This ability enables them to bring an unprecedented level of realism to their actions. “That’s the secret sauce,” Bacher quipped in a Disney Parks video.
According to Bacher, the robots possess the ability to dance, express intense anger with their red-eyed glare, and even replicate various other human emotions. The designer also implied they wouldn’t fall over easily. “They walk over uneven terrain,” Bacher added in the video. “[The droids] can still balance. They are really robust.”This may seem hard to believe at the sight of the cute droids. However, the Disney Research video showcases the BD droids’ impressive resilience. They remain stable despite bumps, handle fabric being pulled away, and navigate uneven forested terrain effortlessly.
Disney has hinted at the introduction of free-roaming droids since 2015 for Galaxy’s Edge lands. This announcement confirms that this long-awaited development is finally becoming a reality. Disneyland hasn’t announced when the droids will be a permanent part of the park.
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