Toddler Gets Popsicle by Drone

Toddler Gets Popsicle by Drone

August 27, 2018

Solving the last-mile delivery problem is difficult.

One approach that is being considered is delivery by drone.  Previous OM in the News posts have looked at drone use by Zipline and Doordash.  Now, the FAA has conducted a test with a drone out of line-of-sight of the operator.

The test: delivering a Popsicle in 6 minutes from a simulated store, to a 2-year-old more than a mile away. The FAA’s drone didn’t land, but instead hovered, and lowered the Popsicle with a tether.

Current regulations limit the use of drones to line-of-sight operation.  If tests like this one are successful, the line-of-sight limitation might be lifted.


Video Spotlight: Toddler’s Popsicle-by-Air Marks Milestone in U.S. Drone Delivery


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Toddler’s Popsicle-by-Air Marks Milestone in U.S. Drone Delivery, by Alan Levin, August 8, 2018; and the Bloomberg video, accompanying Bloomberg video. Image source: wundervisuals/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What problems are facing the use of drones for the last-mile-delivery?

Guidance: In the US, regulations are part of the problem.  The FAA hasn’t approved drones for use beyond line-of-sight.  The Popsicle delivery was one test of concept Continue reading

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Alibaba Integrates Robots Into The Restaurant

Alibaba Integrates Robots Into The Restaurant

August 2, 2018

Alibaba is experimenting with robots and software applications to streamline the restaurant ordering and wait staff service processes.

Customers check in at a kiosk and are provided a QR code to track their order through the system.  They walk around the market and choose fresh foods, then the food is robotically delivered to refrigerated storage until the customer is seated. Humans still prepare the meal, but instead of handing it off to a waiter, the meal is placed in a “pod” and delivered via conveyor belt to the customer’s table.


Video spotlight: Hema’s New ‘Robotic Restaurant’


This post is based on the Business Insider article, Robots are replacing waiters and delivering fresh seafood right to people’s tables at Alibaba’s high-tech restaurant in Shanghai, by Prachi Bhardwaj, July 2, 2018, and the YouTube video, Hema’s New ‘Robotic Restaurant’, by Alibaba Group, June 26, 2018. Image sources: Corbis/Superstock and Shutterstock / GreenLandStudio.

Discussion Questions:

1. Would the service delivery model Alibaba is pioneering, with advanced robots and conveyor-belt delivery, be acceptable to domestic customers at a fast food restaurant? What about a fine dining restaurant?

Guidance: Students should review the concepts of servicescape, service delivery, and service Continue reading

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