By Melissa Fassbender, Associate Editor
After Jaws, a Ride
Universal Studios opened its doors in 1990 offering tour- ists the chance to step inside their favorite movies. One of these rides, Jaws! featured
a six-ton animated shark pushing 30,000
gallons of water each show.
Under the pressure, the giant ani-matronic Jaws was unable to perform
repeatedly (and reliably) so Universal
reached out to a company with extensive
experience in both robotics and water –
Operating the largest fleet of underwater robotic vehicles, the company was an
adept, yet unlikely ally, as their primary
business was in offshore oil and gas
The giant man-eater was soon up and
running, and Oceaneering Entertainment
Systems (OES) was formed.
“We got our start in the industry and
realized it is a pretty fun business, and a
way to make some money, too,” says Bill
Bunting, manager of business development, OES.
Decades later, OES has developed
and installed many systems in theme
parks across the world, and was recently
honored by the Themed Entertainment
Associated (TEA) for "Outstanding
Achievement in Breakthrough
Technology." The technology, the
Revolution Tru-Trackless Ride System
(TTS), is being described as the next
great storyteller's tool to be used in many
future attractions to come. The storyteller
relates to the attraction as being more of
an experience rather than simply an exhilarating ride.
Taking a Different Path
Most attractions, since their inception
by Walt Disney in 1955, have run a follow
the leader path, making one of the great
advancements for the storyteller the
ability for a ride to take different paths.
Enabling this advancement have been
developments in the automated guided
vehicle (AGV) industry.
One company leading AGV research is
Frog AGV Systems, a Dutch company developing AGV systems, as well as navigation
hardware and software. Recently purchased
by Oceaneering International, the company
provided software for the TTS.
The software calculates ride speed and
accelerations, inputting the data simultaneously so that the choreographed vehicles can operate in a ride space. "They
can go out on the floor and appear to