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Cars Land: A fast ride using Siemens technology

What connects Siemens to Walt Disney? Not much, you might think. Yet if you take a look behind the scenes of the Disney theme park Cars Land, you’ll find state-of-the-art technology from Siemens.

In Cars Land at the Disney California Adventure Park, visitors have lots of fun racing cars.

At the Walt Disney theme park Cars Land in Anaheim not far from Los Angeles, young and old alike can immerse themselves in the animated world of “Cars,” where talking cars challenge each other to a race and speed through a sparse desert landscape as if on a slot car race track. What many don’t know: The colorful landscape of this amusement park conceals a tremendous amount of Siemens technology, which is what makes this fast computer-controlled ride possible.

From energy distribution solutions to automation to the control systems, Siemens solutions were used in the race cars as well as in the electronic infrastructure. “This is the greatest success of our partnership with Disney yet,” says Tim Black, sales manager for Siemens Industry in Southern California.

The strategic partnership between Siemens and Disney began in 2005, naturally with a few ulterior motives: Disney benefits from state-of-the-art industrial technology, while Siemens has positioned itself in the important US market as a dedicated company with a national presence. Siemens appears, for example, as a sponsor of the world-famous Disney shows and attractions, including Spaceship Earth at Epcot Center in Florida.

Like a slot car racecourse for giants, the race cars in Cars Land speed around on tracks through the mountainous landscape of the fictional town of Radiator Springs.

State-of-the-art technology for maximum safety
For amusement parks, safety is of the utmost importance. A computerized control program, for example, regulates the speed of the cars. “We need a continuous stream of data that reliably tells us if a vehicle gets stuck behind a mountain or on a curve,” explains Disney manager Russel Oja. The solution: A wireless Ethernet connection that regulates the speed of cars on the racetrack. In addition, technicians in the control room maintain a complete overview of all vehicles.

The cooperation with Disney is expected to continue. The entertainment company is planning to expand its theme parks abroad – a tremendous opportunity for Siemens to continue to work with Disney in the future.

Attendance figures have risen 25 percent at Disney California Adventure Park since the opening of Cars Land.

This Siemens technology is being used in Cars Land Adventure Park:

  • Simatic S7 319F Failsafe Controller: The controller monitors all circuitry and the Wireless Access Points

  • Sinamics G120 Variable Frequency Drivers (VFD): Drives for all race cars

  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC): Control the drive and supply the power

  • Universal Series Interface (USS): The PLC communicates with the control room using a USS protocol and transmits analog signals to the VFD