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Disneyland Article
Autopia Adds Storyline With Robots On A Camping Road Trip

Source:Orange County Register
Author:Mark Eades
Dateline:March 24, 2017
Posted:April 2, 2017
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A new storyline has been added to Disneyland's classic attraction Autopia featuring two robotic characters on a camping road trip.

They are the robotic characters of ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), developed by Honda, and "Bird," a robotic buddy.

"Autopia's never really had a storyline," said Kim Irvine, a Disney Imagineer who serves as Disneyland's art director.

Irvine felt it was time to give riders something to look at as they traveled at approximately 7 mph on the nearly half-mile track.

The ASIMO character used to appear in the Innoventions attraction near the ride, so Irvine and her staff decided to use it on Autopia. She said that they determined that ASIMO should have a friend on the road trip, so the robotic character of "Bird" was created.

"Bird" has the same finishes as ASIMO, according to Irvine, and the scenes are ones commonly seen on many camping road trips, but with a twist.

"Bird wants to fly, not drive, so he invents various flying machines - only they don't quite work right and ASIMO has to help him, as that's what ASIMO was designed to do," Irvine said.

Honda's sponsorship of the opening day ride is in its second year.

"This development is actually phase two of our alliance with Disney on this attraction," said Erik Wedin, manager of corporate relations for American Honda Company.

The first phase added signage and saw Honda replace the engines in the Autopia cars with Honda engines.

Autopia opened with the new scenes Friday.

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