It seems we can’t get enough of futuristic self-driving cars. Except that they really aren’t futuristic any more. This fall, Uber will be rolling out self-driving, ride-sharing vehicles in select locations as part of a concept test. In Pittsburgh, Uber users are now able to hail a self-driving Ford Fusion. While the cars can navigate on their own, an Uber engineer will be in the driver’s seat to take control if needed.
Why Pittsburgh? Because it is a hard city to navigate with bad driving conditions, including snowstorms, hills, and aging roads and bridges. The company spent 18 months testing and refining the ride. Cars have 20 cameras, seven lasers, and 360 degree coverage using a 3-D map of the area.
While industry experts think it will be years, maybe even decades, before the general public is driven around by driverless cars, nonetheless, it is happening now in a controlled test environment. There will undoubtedly be problems, but there is no stopping the progress of self-driving cars.
Want to go for a ride?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss self-driving cars. Poll students about their opinions. Would they ride in a self-driving Uber?
- Show a video of a ride in self-driving Uber car: https://youtu.be/-hm9RP_8dvg
- Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
- For Uber’s self-driving rides, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
- Strengths: what is company good at?
- Weaknesses: what needs work?
- Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
- Threats: what should company be wary of?
- Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
- Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board.
Source: Brandchannel.com, Manufacturing Business Technology, CNN Money, other news sources