Tag Archives: Drones

Snack Robots are Invading Campuses

Robots are invading! Ok, maybe they aren’t exactly invading the entire nation, but they do seem to be infiltrating some college campuses. Rest easy though – these robots seek not to dominate, but instead to satisfy students’ craving for delivered snacks.

The self-driving robots are being tested for “last mile delivery” courtesy of PepsiCo, and have been deployed to serve students at the University of the Pacific’s campus in Stockton, Calif. The robots, developed by robotic company Robby Technologies, carry a variety of healthy snacks and drinks from Pepsi’s ‘Hello Goodness’ product line. Ordering and delivery on campus is easy using an app that is available to all students with a University of the Pacific email address. With a single charge, the robot can travel 20 miles to find a multitude of consumers eager for a quick snack.

The robots do have a normal work hour shift of 9-5 (sorry, no late night munchies) and deliver products to 50 areas around the campus. The robots are equipped with cameras and headlights so that they can navigate in rain and darkness. And, with six-wheels and all-wheel drive, curbs, rough paths, and steep hills can be handled with ease.

Students – are you hungry now?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impact of robots and drones on marketing.
  2. Show a video of the Pepsi SnackBots: https://youtu.be/skUbYVmRogI
  3. More information can be found at Pepsi’s Website: https://www.pepsico.com/news/press-release/pepsicos-hello-goodness-snackbot-is-off-to-college01032019
  4. Information on the robots from Robby: https://robby.io
  5. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  6. Break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
  7. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  8. Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board.

Source: Ad Week, other news sources

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Kitty Hawk’s Air Taxi

It seems that a number of companies are taking to the air and working on new transportation methods. A significant new entry vying for a place in the sky is Kitty Hawk, a company financed by Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO, Larry Page. (Kitty Hawk is run by Sebastian Thrun who started Google’s autonomous car unit as director of Google X.) The company has been working somewhat stealthily in New Zealand, testing a new type of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxis.

New Zealand’s prime minister recently announced that it will test Kitty Hawk’s autonomous planes as part of an official certification process. The goal is to have a commercial network of flying taxis in New Zealand in three years. Things will be somewhat different in the U.S. though; the FAA allows test flights of autonomous vehicles, but there is no path to commercialize at this point in time.

Kitty Hawk’s first plane is Cora, a personal air taxi for everyday use. The plane can take off and land like a helicopter, thus eliminating the need for a runway. It has the potential to land on spaces such as rooftops and parking lots. Cora combines self-flying software with expert human supervision. The all-electric vehicle is a pollution-free way to reduce commute time, and stress. Cora has a flight range of 100 kilometers and can fly 150 km/hour.

Look… up in the air… it’s a bird…. it’s a plan…. It’s Cora!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the future of transportation. Will it be on the ground?
  2. Show Kitty Hawk’s Web site: https://kittyhawk.aero/
  3. A video of the plane is available at: https://cora.aero/
  4. Discuss the components of an environmental scan: social, technology, economics, competition, and legal.
  5. Ask students what data they would want in order to make a marketing decision for Kitty Hawk.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general for one of the five components of the environmental scan.
  7. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Kitty Hawk?

Source:  Sorkin, A. (12 March, 2018). Larry Page’s flying taxis, now exiting stealth mode. New York Times.

 

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Uber in the Air

Urban mobility. What is it, and how can we achieve it? Consider what would happen by taking transportation off the road – and moving it into the air. Several companies, including Uber, are working on new initiatives for flight-based transportation. Using electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOL), Uber’s goal is to develop transportation that makes lives easier, commutes shorter, and cities cleaner.

Working with a number of different companies and governments, Uber is developing a long-term strategy and infrastructure for drone-based air transportation. In a partnership with Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer, Uber announced a joint venture called Uber Elevate to develop small VTOLs. On-demand aviation would change commuting considerably. A network of VTOLs could provide rapid transportation between, and within, cities.

Instead of driving hours on the ground, a commute becomes only minutes in the air. For example, the average San Francisco resident spends roughly 230 hours/year commuting between work and home! In Sydney, Australia, and Los Angeles, California, residents spend an entire seven working works each year commuting! In other countries, the estimated commute time is even longer – Mumbai has an average commute time of 90 minutes. Long commutes raise stress levels, absorb valuable resources, and cut short our free time.

Want a ride?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How much time do they spend commuting each work to work and school?
  2. Show the Uber Elevate concept video: https://youtu.be/JuWOUEFB_IQ
  3. A longer video explanation can be found at: https://youtu.be/nuFSh7N0Nhw
  4. What are the students’ opinions of this new service? Would they use it?
  5. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  6. For Uber Elevate, who is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  8. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?

Source:  Brandchannel.com, Reuters News Service

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