Tag Archives: transportation

Vehicle Dependability Study

Cars are one of the most expensive and involved purchases that consumers make. They have an extended decision-making process, use multiple information sources, and include multiple evaluation criteria before making a final decision. The decisions that car buyers make impact not only their immediate budgets, but also their long-term budgets with respect to repairs and vehicle dependability (post-purchase behavior).

One source often used by consumers is the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. According to the most recent study, car buyers avoid models with poor reputations for dependability. The good news is that buyers do not have to spend a lot of money in order to get a dependable vehicle.

The study examines problems experienced over the past 12 months by original owners of 3-year cars. Eight categories are examined, including exterior, engine/transmission, audio/communication/entertainment/navigation, interior, features/controls/displays, the driving experience, heating/ventilation/air condition, and seats. The survey examined responses from 35,186 original owners of 2014 auto models.

Check out the report and see where your vehicle placed.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Poll students: What are factors that influence consumer purchases of cars?
  3. Divide students into teams.
  4. Have each team select two criteria and draw a positioning map for automobiles using those criteria (Ex: price and reliability).
  5. Show the J.D. Power report and video:
  6. http://www.jdpower.com/cars/awards/Vehicle-Dependability-Study-%2528VDS%2529-by-Category/1882ENG
  7. Based on the J.D. Power ranking, how could different auto manufacturers use the rankings to reposition their products?

Source:  J.D. Power, Manufacturing Business Technology

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Self-Driving Minivan from Waymo and Chrysler

chrysler

It seems that we can’t get enough of self-driving vehicles. The technology keeps advancing rapidly, and now technology and automotive companies are teaming up to bring self-driving cars to the roads as soon as possible. Recently, Waymo (the self-driving car company spun-off from Google) and Fiat Chrysler announced that they are ready to deploy a fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans at the end of January.

Waymo is making all of the technology itself, building the cameras, sensors, and mapping technology. This work is bringing technology costs down by approximately 90% – from $75,000 in 2009 to $7,500 today. Working with Fiat Chrysler to integrate technology with the car’s architecture, the minivan is built with the specific mission of driving itself. Vehicles will take to the roads in another month in Mountain View, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz. (The roomy, seven-person minivan does have a steering wheel though as it is required by many state laws.)

The van is equipped with three rings of 360 degree LIDAR sensors to give the vehicle both long and short range vision, allowing vehicles to see objects that are very close as well as spot tiny objects that are farther away. Waymo stated that it has more than 2.5 million miles on self-driving cars, and an additional one billion miles in simulations.

Ready for a ride?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the video of the Waymo/Chrysler minivan:

https://youtu.be/SwsEn7P97nw

  1. Another video of an interview with the CEO of Waymo: https://youtu.be/-pO-MIHGlgc
  2. Discuss competition: What are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare Waymo’s minivan with a competitive product. What are the points of difference (what makes the product different from competition)?
  4. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  New York Times, The Verge, CNBC, CNET, other news sources

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Otto – The Self-Driving Truck Delivers

trucks

Face it. While not everyone is in favor of them, autonomous vehicles are definitely gaining a foothold in the market. They may evolve features and functions over the next few years, but they are certainly becoming part of the road.

One of the latest developments was the first commercial shipment using a self-driving vehicle this fall in Colorado. The cargo? More than 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer!

The trip was the result of a partnership between beer-maker Anheuser-Busch and Otto, a self-driving technology company owned by Uber. The project, with support from the State of Colorado, demonstrated a trip of 120 miles, from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, without a driver in the seat during the entire stretch of the highway. The autonomous driving system used cameras, radar, and sensors to guide the truck. Otto’s system controlled the steering, acceleration, braking, and navigation.

The importance of this use of autonomous driving has big implications for transit and safety; nearly 70% of products we buy are brought to market on long-haul trucks. While a human still has to load the truck and guide it through the city to a highway exit, once the truck is on the expressway the driver can relax in back until the destination exit is reached.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Otto’s Web site and view the video of the trip: https://ot.to/
  2. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  3. Break students into teams. Have each team build a SWOT analysis grid for Otto’s truck self-driving technology, .
    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:  Wired, Tech Crunch, other news sources

 

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