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DENSO Sponsors University Of Michigan Last-Mile Mobility Competition, Participates In Fall Engineering Fair

By sponsoring the competition, it not only supported DENSO’s commitment to spurring innovation, but also provided the company with a unique opportunity to help mentor and support tomorrow’s workforce.


In July, DENSO sponsored a last-mile mobility competition at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. The company challenged participating Master of Business Administration students to propose new ideas about how to best approach the rapidly emerging space of last-mile delivery robots. By sponsoring the competition, it not only supported DENSO’s commitment to spurring innovation, but also provided the company with a unique opportunity to help mentor and support tomorrow’s workforce. 

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DENSO’s collaboration with the University of Michigan does not end there, as it will participate in the SWE/TBP Fall Engineering Fair on Sept. 16-17 at the EECS Atrium and BBB Atrium on the University of Michigan’s North Campus. 

For the competition, 14 teams comprised of 70 students were briefed about last-mile mobility’s growing importance and DENSO’s increasing interest in the space, such as with its recent investment in Bond Mobility, a micromobility services provider. Teams were then tasked with: 

• Analyzing and assessing emerging business opportunities in the autonomous delivery industry; 

• Developing 1-2 business ideas focused on business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) services that generate recurring revenues; and 

• Devising a business strategy and corporate action for implementation.

“Working with the Ross School of Business on this competition allowed us to do two things we’re passionate about at DENSO,” said Pat Bassett, vice president of DENSO’s North American Research Engineering Center. “First, it drove creative thinking from fresh perspectives, which is key to our R&D strategy. Second, it offered these bright students real-life examples of how they could apply their talents to an exciting career in mobility.” 


A judging panel of two Ross School of Business professors and four DENSO employees chose two winners. The winning teams were selected for their unique approaches, which yielded tech-forward concepts centered on optimized fleet management and autonomous waste collection. 

“Case study competitions allow our students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios,” said Patricia Russo, managing director of the art-Time MBA Programs at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “Working with DENSO is particularly exciting because it forces our students to think beyond the technology of today and to what the future of mobility will look like with advancements around autonomous and connected vehicle technology.”

At the SWE/TBP Fall Engineering Fair, DENSO Representatives will be at the James and Anne Duderstadt Center, table DC-18, where they will offer attendees insight into the rewarding careers possible at DENSO in software engineering, cyber security, research and development, strategic operations and more. 


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