Carbon – the Building Block of Life (Friday, May 12)

The day began with an early departure for SGL Group – The Carbon Company. SGL focuses mainly with production of carbon fiber and graphite materials and semi-finished products. The most interesting product to me would be the carbon ceramic brake discs for use is performance cars. Although the tour was mundane, we did get to see KUKA robots hard at work and it ended with a lovely lasagna meal. Following our trip to SGL, we went right to the University where we had an hour, which I used to work with my group on our presentation and discuss what we learned from the presentation.


Back at the University, there was a man from BMW who talked to us about BMW’s future, which mostly includes autonomous vehicles. I was excited for this presentation before it started but then the excitement died down as he proceeded to talk about cars that drive themselves. This worries me because driving is one of my favorite things and if that is taken away, where will I find my joy? Regardless of my fear of my car eventually driving itself, the technological advances in the automotive industry is very exciting. It’s crazy how many sensors and such are currently on cars. With features such as adaptive cruise control which measures the distance to the car in front of you and varies cruise speed accordingly and Tesla’s “autopilot” feature that lets the car drive itself, there is a lot more the come. Now I just can’t wait to see the BMW factory tour and the museum.

Following the presentation, Anna gave me a dinner recommendation for an Italian place called Vapiano. This restaurant experience was different than any other I had dealt with so far. It was no sit down, waiter comes up, and you order food. We got inside and immediately received what appeared to be gift card which was followed by complete confusion. This is what makes being abroad so stressful: walking into a foreign place in a foreign country and having not a clue of what was going on or what you are supposed to do. Turns out the gift card-like card was used as a tab where you order your food and put it all on the card and then use the card to pay when you are done. I dined on delicious spaghetti. Since it was not too late, we had time to get gelato again, which was also delightful as ever. To finish the day, we were spending our free time, and we ran into Brad.


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