Disney outrage: 'Tesla stole our self-driving technology' | Uncle Walt's Insider

Disney outrage: ‘Tesla stole our self-driving technology’

Did these companies "borrow" decades-old self-driving technology from Disney? Photo includes image by Jishnuzz [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Disney claims technology from several attractions has been ‘stolen’ by large companies

Shocking news from the Glendale, California, offices of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) today: an Imagineer says that several major companies have stolen research about self-driving cars from WDI. The Imagineer pointed to several examples of self-driving technology in Disney parks, including Jungle Cruise boats and Tomorrowland Speedway cars.

A race for the first (?) self driving car

Several companies are currently in a race to develop the first widely-accepted self-driving cars. Notable names such as Google, Tesla, and Uber all have very public projects and demonstrations. Cities and states are wrangling with updating vehicle operation codes to account for driverless cars, and investors are throwing money into the arena. Many members of the public are longing to be the first one on the block to own one.

“We’ve had that technology for years”

Following our recent article on the Tesla Self-Driving ECVs that will be used at Disney parks, Imagineer Jack Szalinski reached out to Uncle Walt’s Insider to set the record straight. Mr. Szalinski stated “We’ve had that technology for years. Decades. Everything that Tesla has, they stole from us. You can see the technology all over our parks!”

When pressed for details, Mr. Szalinski continued “Just look around. Look at the Universe of Energy! [Ed.: The Universe of Energy is closed, and is being rethemed as a Guardians of the Galaxy ride.] We’ve had self-driving vehicles since the age of the dinosaurs. That ride never had human drivers. Look at the Great Movie Ride! [Ed.: The Great Movie Ride is closed, and is being rethemed as a Guardians of the Galaxy ride.] Sure, the tour guides controlled the speed, but they were only pretending to steer. What about the Jungle Cruise? [Ed.: Jungle Cruise has not been closed, and to the best of our knowledge, is not scheduled to be rethemed as a Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Yet.] Do you really think that the Jungle Skippers are actually driving that? Just watch how they spin the wheel! Whatever they do, the boat goes where we want it to go.”

“I’ve got another example for you. Look at the Walt Disney World Railroad. There’s not even a steering wheel. And look at the Tomorrowland Speedway. Do you really think we’d let 3 year olds drive real cars? All of them are self-driving. Tesla, Google, and Uber, all of them, they all copied everything from us. We’ve had that tech for 20, 30, maybe even 40 years. But do we get credit? Nope. It’s always some hot shot tech inventor dude.”

Backlash? Or not?

Mr. Szalinski mentioned that he wasn’t sure if Walt Disney Imagineering would be filing lawsuits about the stolen technology. Uncle Walt’s also attempted to contact Tesla, Google, and Uber for a comment, but they all declined to provide a statement. Uncle Walt’s would also like to reiterate that we are not taking sides in this dispute, but are merely reporting the controversy.

Would you buy a self-driving car, knowing that the technology was stolen? Let us know in the comments below!

Cover photo includes image by Jishnuzz [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.