Day 5: Robots building robots

Instead of the usual hotel breakfast this morning, we took a bus to Baindlkirch to try their famous homemade veal sausage. The restaraunt was in a small town close to Augsburg, yet the whole place was swarmed with Germans and tourists coming to try the sausage. This is a traditional Bavarian breakfast called Weißwurst, which is usally eaten with pretzels and beer. The Weißwurst was very different because of the chewy outer shell, but it was very tasty and filling. We also got to see how the sausage was made, which was rather unappealing.

After a delicious breakfast, we headed back to the hotel and changed for Kuka. When we arrived at the Kuka plant, I was immediately  impressed with the size of the building. The entire inside of the first building we went into was very futuristic, even the bathroom sinks flashed with lights when you used them. Our tour guide took us into a hallway that closely resembled Space Mountain in Disney World and explained to us the history of the company. She then took us into a large, dark room that had several robot systems on display. The guide pressed a button and two large robots put on a light show for us. We then had about 20 minutes to play with or take pictures of other robots. There was a station where you could tour the plant using virtual reality goggles. 

After playing around in this futuristic room, we got the royal tour of the Kuka plant. Kuka builds custom automated robots that serve several different purposes. For example, Kuka robots are used in automobile factories, production of electronics, medicine, film production, and entertainment. It was really interesting to see these robots being built, because they were being built by the same robots! It was almost an eerie setting seeing robots basically building themselves. The entire production runs 24/7, with the robots working tirelessly overnight to build parts. There was a lack of technicians compared to the other companies we’ve visited so far, simply because the robots took care of all the simple tasks a human could do in their sleep. At the end of the tour, one of the engineers that worked there gave us a presentation about robots and how the Kuka robots fit into business. Kuka robots are used in the rides in Harry Potter World in Orlando, which I thought was very exciting. 

At the end of the day, me and my group got some work done on our presentation, and then the German students took us out for a fun night of dancing.

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