Embedded wire ride systems


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Does anyone have any technical detail on these systems used at UOE, GMR, and TOT?

I believe the wire creates a flux (magnetic) field that the vehicles use an array of linear magnetic sensors to determine the heading of the vehicle.

But what I don't understand is how bidirectional information is communicated to a specific ride vehicle from the controlling computer and back using this wire.

My guess would be that the vehicles are modulating that existing magnetic field from the track wire. And then they can do a little math on that sensor data and figure out not only which car the controller is trying to talk to but also whatever instructions that it contains. The individual vehicles can then modulate the signal again, identifying the controling computer and sending status information back to it for true two-way communication.

The thing that pokes a hole in this theory is that, as far as I understand, the vehicles would only be able to manipulate the flux field that is near them. So I'm not sure how that modified signal gets back to the ride computer.

RFID uses a similar technique, modulating a magnetic field. But in that system the communication is only one way.

I'm also assuming that there is a linear array of magnetic sensors on the bottom of the vehicle so that so it can correct its heading when it sees a drop in the magnitude of the flux field.

I would love any information or corrections anyone has on this ride system regarding the two way communication but also a confirmation on my theory about an array of sensors for heading correction.

Thanks in advance for any information that can be shared!
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Well-Known Member
I don't know all of the details, but keep in mind the system was designed in the 70s so the technology is probably relatively simple.

To my understanding the wire emits a radio frequency that the vehicle reads and navigates towards - as the strength of the signal decreases it knows to navigate back towards the wire. I believe you're right that it's a few sensors located on either side of the wire that track the changes in signal strength. Additionally the prescribed speed of a given section of track is communicated over that frequency. Then separate sensors detect the presence of the vehicle and track it that way and/or there's numbered sensors in the track the vehicle passes over and counts as a crude method of position tracking.

As far as talking to a specific vehicle - I imagine it doesn't really. The system is likely divided into blocks like most rides and the entire ride program is likely broadcast over that wire in real time and the vehicle just follows it as it leads it to the next block. No more than one vehicle is in a block at a time. And in a case like UOE there's multiple wires and/or multiple frequencies so the separate vehicles just follow whichever one they're listening to.

I believe the vehicles themselves are more or less "dumb" - not like more modern ride systems like test track or Indy where constant sophisticated computer handshakes are happening. The central computer does most of the hard work and the vehicles just kind of follow along.

Of course I think this evolved over time. TOT's system is more sophisticated than UOE. And I'm largely just piecing together bits of what I've heard over the years and could be dead wrong.

I'm sure @marni1971 knows more
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