Fall (and Friday!) is in the air ...
Today's itinerary: Professional drone racing; robot pizza delivery coming to flyover campuses; Big 10 quiz; and 3 winning city stories
September 6, 2019
Pro drone racing is a thing
Image by Harald Landsrath via Pixabay
Humans being humans, it was only a matter of time before we discovered fire, created plastic, invented drones, and started racing them on a professional racing circuit. And that first drone racing circuit landed in Minnesota on August 22. That’s when the Drone Racing League and Allianz Field in St. Paul hosted the 2019 DRl Allianz World Championship, which will air on NBC and Twitter on November 6.
For those of you who are wondering if drone racing is where reprobate tween boys tie bees to strings and race them in the backyard, you are not wrong. But this is a different kind of drone: the kind you usually hear about involved in photography, spying, and occasionally, bombing. Turns out they are also super fun to watch race.
In drone races, “pilots” with names like “Phluxy,” “Fat Kid,” and “Nurk” don goggles that relay live video feeds from cameras mounted on their drones and race each other at top speeds while navigating through a series of brightly colored gates. If you can’t wait until November to watch the top pros go at it in Minnesota, just search for drone races on YouTube.
And lest you dismiss drone racing as a puerile endeavor, take note that eSports—the catch-all term for people watching other people play games—is projected to generate $1.5 billion in revenue in 2020.
Robot pizza delivery service raises $40 million
Image via Starship Technologies on Youtube
If robots have stolen your job and you’re thinking about picking up a gig delivering pizzas, you might want to rethink that plan. That’s because a company called Starship Technologies recently secured $40 million in funding to create thousands of pizza-delivering robots.
The company has been testing its robots all over the world and recently delivered its 100,000th pizza. Now it has set its sights on college campuses, which have the perfect combination of navigable walking paths and smartphone-savvy students. Win-win. The robots are going to invade campuses across the country in the next two years, including Purdue University and University of Pittsburgh.
The electric robots look a bit on the clunky side and lumber along at a top speed of 4 miles per hour, but what they lack in speed they make up for in endurance. And they are more profitable than delivery services like GrubHub and Postmates, which are powered by humans, because they don’t have that pesky problem of needing to be paid. Starship says it can make money charging $1.99 per order.
Starship has a jump on the competition by virtue of having so thoroughly tested its robots and perfecting the autonomous technology. There are a lot of potential competitors, though, including everyone from Domino’s to Ford to Amazon, as well as companies hoping to deliver groceries, consumer items, and—isn’t it inevitable?—the aforementioned weed. Welcome to the future.
Welcome to "Name that Flyover U!"
Happy Friday, football fans! It's that time and the Big Ten conference kicks off tomorrow. If you're a fan, you should be as excited as a dog with two tails.
To celebrate, we decided to put a slight twist on our ever-popular "Name that Flyover City" quiz and play "Name that Flyover U"!
Let's get right down to fun and games with today's enigmatic queries:
Which Big 10 school has the biggest stadium?
Which school won the first Big Ten Football championship?
Lee Corso is one of the popular hosts of the long running show College Game Day. At which Big Ten school did he coach Football?
Want those answers?
Can't stand football, but still gotta know?
Then click here for enlightenment.
Tulsa's Gathering Place wins national accolades
A new park in Tulsa is winning rave reviews. Gathering Place, a $465 million, 66-acre park on the Arkansas River, has been lauded by publications all across the land for its innovation, design aesthetic, and commitment to accessibility. Time Magazine named Gathering Place one of its “World’s Greatest Places 2019,” USA Today named it the “Best New Attraction in the Nation,” and National Geographic included it on its “Mind-bending Playgrounds” list.
The vision of philanthropist George B. Kaiser, the park has everything you’d expect in a great city park: playgrounds, gardens, a skate park, a concert venue, restaurants, trails, and classes. But where Tulsa really hit it out of the, um, park, is with its accessibility. Gathering Place is free to everyone, is ADA compliant, and includes desensitization areas for people with autism and voice amplification for people with hearing disorders.
Designed by landscape architect firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the park includes seven “realms,” including a padded play area for toddlers called "Volcanoville," a zip line, multi-story fireplaces, and "The Rabbit Hole," a slide that goes underground. More than 80 corporations and foundations came together to fund the park, and its $100 million endowment will ensure that the park and its programming will entertain Tulsans for many years to come.
Pop-up retail as an economic development solution in Indy
Empty downtown storefronts send an undesirable message about urban centers. Meanwhile, independent artists and retailers are always looking for new ways to market themselves. Enter St’Artup317.
St’Artup317 links commercial real estate developers and their downtown and storefront properties with independent small business owners, artists, and designers to bring fresh ideas and merchandise to Indianapolis. Vendors use the space rent-free for 30 days and have the option to extend their leases once the month is up.
For the 2019 season, vendors included Blacksheep Collective, a faith-based apparel line operated by artist Byron Elliot, and Witty by Codi, a couture clothing boutique. “My biggest opportunity was being able to stay in the space for an extended lease of 18 months at a discounted rate,” said Codi Banks about her once pop-up, now store.
Other projects included a meditation studio, and Comfort Option, a store that sells locally crafted custom mattresses, and numerous fine artists.
Millennials flock to Madison
Where do you go when you already have all the trophies? Wisconsin. At least that’s where a ton of Millennials are headed. On the heels of a recent study showing that Millennials are flocking to Oshkosh, Sheboygan, and Wausau comes news that Madison is the No. 2 relocation destination in the country for people born between 1980 and 1998.
The relo info comes from the National Association of Realtors, which concluded that only the Yalies of New Haven-Milford, CT, metro edged out Madison for the top spot, based on US Census data.
So, why Madison? Job opportunities and affordability, according to Inc.com’s Jeff Barrett, who says Madison could be the next Portland or Austin. Salaries are strong and the cost of living is below the national average, putting Madison in the sweet spot for attracting Millennial talent. The tech game is big there, too: The University of Wisconsin spends more than $1 billion annually in research, and Madison has a history of turning out game-changing inventions like stem cells, drugs, and scientific patents. Fitbit also recently named Madison the fittest city in America. Now only time will tell if all those Millennials can outrun their helicopter parents.
- Farm automation brings high-tech to the Rust Belt (Smartfactory.com)
- Ben Roethlisberger funds newborn care startup with $2.5
- Miami University’s student-led VC group plans to raise $1.5M Fund (American Inno)
- New 3D Milky Way model shows details of galactic “warp” (news.osu.edu)
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