Just days after the final stainless-steel ribbon was bolted into place on the stunning new facade of the building at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, the Petersen Automotive Museum has unveiled its plans to utilize new technology: including panoramic video walls, driving simulators, augmented reality and “show control” light and sound systems.
“The new museum will be one of the world’s premier automotive storytelling experiences,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Working with our creative and tech partners, we created new ways to share car stories, sights and sounds in a totally new 21st century automotive experience.”
A key piece of storytelling technology used in the new Petersen is “augmented reality,” showcased in a groundbreaking new educational program on the museum’s second floor. Characters from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars — including Lightning McQueen, Mater and many more — will serve as teachers and guides through a notable new exhibition space: The Cars Mechanical Institute. While guests look though a “CARSpad” mobile device, the beloved Cars characters will appear on screen to offer an education in the principles of automotive design and engineering, based on what the tablets’ camera is seeing.
Co-developed by the Petersen Automotive Museum and Pixar Animation Studios, the proprietary CARSpad tablet experience will help children of all ages learn about automotive history and technology in a fun and engaging new way.
“We are thrilled to announce this new program with the Petersen Automotive Museum, and hope that the Cars Mechanical Institute will entertain, educate and inspire many generations of children,” said Jay Ward, the Cars Creative Director at Pixar Animation Studios.
Further, a new Petersen mobile-device app will utilize geo-locating Near Field Communications (NFC) beacons: Visitors’ smart phones and tablets can receive a host of self-guided tour information relevant to the their location in the museum. The app will launch in seven languages, with others being added later.
The New Petersen will also feature eight driving simulators in the Microsoft/Xbox Forza Racing Experience room. Adjacent to the museum’s new Motorsports Gallery, the Forza Racing Experience offers a unique version of the cutting-edge racing simulators created just for the Petersen. In a museum first, the simulators will feature the groundbreaking new Ford GT while the actual Ford GT prototype car sits just a few feet away, alongside the Petersen’s rare 1967 Ford GT40 Mark III. Competitions will be held, including plans for a novel 24 Hours of Le Mans event during the actual race. Qualifying teams will drive new Ford GTs on the simulators during the race as if they were actually on the track in France. Forza driver changes will coincide with actual pit stops.
In order to create an interactive and immersive museum that celebrates some of the rarest, most beautiful and significant vehicles of all time, more than 68 miles of data-carrying cable have already been installed. Building-wide WiFi with a 500 Mbps transfer rate was achieved using a variety of routers and switches made possible via a partnership with Belkin/Linksys. This technological foundation will allow visitors to seamlessly operate the new museum app, and easily share social posts during their Petersen experience.
Within the 25 new exhibits, 1,600 overhead LED lighting fixtures and 45 Panasonic projectors will provide ultimate display flexibility. Every light and speaker in the museum is networked and can be controlled individually or as part of different thematic programs designed to maximize educational content, storytelling and entertainment.
Called Show Control, this system allows museum staff to program the projectors individually or “stitch” them together to create a sequential “show” of panoramic motion. In the Hollywood Gallery, for example, films and television shows will be projected alongside the now-famous cars that were in them. Exhibits can be refreshed more efficiently when cars are cycled through the museum. The Hollywood Gallery will also feature a 130-foot-long display sure to captures the thrills and spills of your favorite action films.
A total of 42 storytelling LED monitors will be employed. These include an 8×20-foot storyboard in the Grand Concours foyer, a 166-foot-long wall that utilizes 12 projectors in the Grand Salon and a 134-foot/180-degree wall in the Motorsports Gallery, immersing visitors in the fastest racecars of all time – at speed. Further, 43 interactive touch-screen kiosks will allow museum visitors to swipe and tap through multi-media exhibit information.
All of this technology has been created to enhance the stories behind the world’s most rare and historic cars, showcased in the museum’s 25 new galleries. The technology can also be used to create impactful presentations for private events. The Petersen Automotive Museum is on track to re-open in December 2015. For more information, visit www.Petersen.org or call 323-930-CARS.