Dreaming of Flying

The dream of a flying car is alive and well in Silicon Valley. The latest version of flying comes from a company named Kitty Hawk. It doesn’t exactly look like a car though – it looks more like a jet ski with pontoons and propellers.

The vehicle is open and can carry one person. Powered by eight battery-powered propellers, the 220-pound vehicle takes off and lands on water and a platform. The Kitty Hawk Flyer is being promoted using a membership model – enthusiasts pay $100 to gain exclusive access to the Kitty Hawk and will get a $2,000 discount towards the yet-to-be-set price. There are barriers though for the new industry, including regulations. Plus, today’s batteries cannot yet support flights of the average daily commute, and where do you land if there is a problem?

This company is far from alone in its quest to create flying vehicles though. Challengers include more than a dozen other companies, including Terrafugia, Airbus Group, Volocopter, AeroMobil, and more.

Are you ready to fly away?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  2. Show the Kitty Hawk Web site and video: https://kittyhawk.aero/
  3. For this product, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    3. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    4. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  4. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  5. Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board.

Source: New York Times, other news sources

 

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