Tag Archives: design

We are finally getting flying cars!

The future has finally arrived and science fiction has come true. After years and decades, we’ve been teased about the possibility of flying cars. Is it finally time? Has the car in “Back to the Future” finally been built?  

Kinda. Under experimental status, Alef Aeronautics’ flying car (Model A) now has permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to test its car/plane in the sky/on the road. But, the vehicle also needs to meet National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration standards.  

Model A has been designed to drive on streets and take off vertically to fly above traffic. While not yet available, Interested customers can pre-order their flying cars and be placed in a priority queue for the low fee of $1,500 (the final estimated price is $300,000).  

Model A can be driven on regular roads; it fits into normal driving lanes and even fits into a regular parking space or garage. On the ground, the car has a 200-mile range. When ready to fly, the car takes off vertically, allowing drivers to fly above obstacles yet still remain stable due to a unique gimbaled design. It has no exposed propellers, 110-mile range in the sky, and works similar to a drone (no wings!).  

Alef is not the only company exploring flying cars. Another company, ASKA, also has been cleared by the FAA and has started flight testing. ASKA’s A5 is hybrid with batteries and can use premium gasoline. This vehicle does have wings, six independent rotors, and a parachute. It also have vertical takeoff and landing, and can enter an airfield by driving through the gate. It already has reached $50 million in pre-orders.   Let’s fly away…      

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What are their thoughts about flying cars? Any interest in owning one?
  2. View Alef Aeronautics site: https://alef.aero/
  3. Play Model A video: https://youtu.be/E5YRh8vLjLU
  4. View ASKA’s site: https://www.askafly.com/
  5. Play ASKA A5 video: https://youtu.be/d7lA3Ibv1MA 
  6. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  7. Ask students what data they would want in order to make marketing decisions for Model A and ASKA A5.
  8. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general research to answer the questions above. (ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
  9. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation?

Source: The first flying car, ‘Model A,’ approved by the FAA and it’s 100% electric. (3 July 2023) CNN; FAA clears ASKA’s flying car. IEN Staff (June 30,2023).  

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Michelle Obama Launches Healthier Drink Company

Keeping children healthy is an important cause, but it can be difficult when it comes to all the added sugars that appear in children’s food and drink. According to federal dietary guidelines, more than three-quarters of all U.S. 9 – 13-year-old children exceed the recommended limit of added sugars per day; children get about 32% of that sugar from beverages.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one-in-five children ages 2 – 19 are obese. And, obesity is linked to a number of health problems such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. This is an important issue to address and now former-First Lady Michelle Obama has co-founded a company selling healthier drinks to kids.

The company, named PLEZi Nutrition, has launched its first product line of drinks that contain about 75% less sugar (compared to other fruit juice brands) plus fiber and nutrients including potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Drinks contain no added sugars and are 35 calories per bottle.

Drinks come in flavors including Sour Apple, Blueberry Blast, and Orange Smash. A four-pack of 8-ounce drinks will be priced around $4.00 and are sold at Target and online at Walmart.

Try it and see what you think.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Pelzi’s Website: https://plezi.com/
  2. Show Plezi for sale at Target: https://www.target.com/s?searchTerm=plezi
  3. And for sale at Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/search?q=plezi
  4. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  5. What is the target market?
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  7. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  8. What should the promotion plan focus on?

Source:  Aubrey, A. (3 May 2023). Michelle Obama launches a food company aimed at healthier choices for kids. NPR News.; Petersen, A. (3 May 2023). Michelle Obama starts food-and-drinks company aimed at fighting childhood obesity. Wall Street Journal.; other news sources.

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Farewell to Google Glass, Again…

Poor Google Glass. It had a tough run but it has finally reached the end stage. Google stopped selling the Glass Enterprise smartglasses in March, and will likely end software support this fall.

Google Glass has had an interesting path over the years, beginning with the first prototype smart-glasses launched in 2013. Glass has a smart heads-up display and camera, allowing users to connect to data, and share information and images. Glass was originally priced at $1,500 and sold on a limited basis only to developers and some early technology adopters. Concerns quickly arose about security and privacy, and using the device to capture data for Google. The high price combined with limited availability and use had doomed the first version to end sales by 2015.

However, Glass came back to market a few years later as ‘Glass Enterprise Edition’ and was targeted at corporate customers and business users. That edition was revamped to focus on users such as medical personnel, workers in training, and manufacturing employees. The price was also lowered to $999.

But it still didn’t catch on, even as other companies such as Meta and Apple continue working on their own smart-glass projects using augmented reality.

What would you use smart-glasses for doing?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Explain the product and show videos about Glass: https://www.youtube.com/user/googleglass
  2. Poll students: Would they use the AR glasses?
  3. What are potential applications and target markets for AR glasses?
  4. What are the obstacles?
  5. Next, discuss the stages in the product life cycle.
  6. Illustrate how Glass has moved through the PLC.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  8. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.

Source:  Leswing, K. (15 March, 2023). Google ends enterprise sales of Google Glass; its augmented reality smartglasses. CNBC.; Lukpat, A. (16 March 2023). Google Glass is going away, again. Wall Street Journal.; other news sources.

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