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Owner of Eichenlaub Inc. teaches students how he weighs new technology

Tuesday, November 20, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cathy Corrigan
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Will customers of lawn-mowing services accept robotic, autonomous lawnmowers cutting the lawns at their homes with no human operator nearby? Eichenlaub Inc., an upscale landscape firm in Pittsburgh, is counting on agribusiness management students in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences to find out.
 
Dan Eichenlaub, founder and president of the design-build-maintenance landscape firm, is studying the new technology as a potential solution to a tight labor market. "You can have the best technology in the world, but if no customer wants it at their property, it isn't a solution," Eichenlaub explained to 70 agribusiness management students who visited the firm's headquarters this fall for a hands-on, experiential learning project organized by the college's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program. "Is the market adoption going to be there?"

As part of a live venture case, agribusiness students over a two-week period interviewed Eichenlaub's customers about their perceptions of autonomous mowing and now are analyzing this feedback to develop recommendations. The firm is studying the automatic mowers as a potential solution to a labor shortage affecting its lawn-mowing service contracts.

 

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