Day 4 included our second company tour which was with Continental. Before our visit I thought Continental specialized in strictly tires, however that only makes up about a quarter of their staggering 40 billion (euro) yearly sales. We were given an eye-opening presentation by the Head of Innovation of Continental that gave us insight into just how diversified Continental has become. They, along with Tesla and Uber, have been developing self-driving autonomous software that would essentially enable cars to drive themselves. However, they believe that no autonomous software is safe enough and ready enough to be implemented in the streets which is why they haven’t used it in the public yet. They also working on the electrification of engines, green energy in cars, and also develops a majority of the sensory detectors found in most cars today. We were then given a tour of their large and state-of-the-art facility in which they produce the circuits for these sensory devices. Inside their facility they had many compact robots moving around and transporting these circuits and other equipment. It was truly a sight out of a Star Wars’ spaceship. These robots can detect objects in front of them and move around them. They can also communicate to the other robots if there is a blockage in one of the routes and other robots will generate another route to get to their desired destination. It was very interesting to see where the future of the automobile industry is headed and what Continental is doing to keep up with the changing times.
We then went to the historic city of Regensburg where we had a guided tour. Regensburg was at one time the second largest city in Germany is unique in that it has many Roman influences. It was one of the only cities in Germany that wasn’t bombed during WWII which is why its history has been so well preserved. We also saw a massive building that is one of the oldest buildings in Germany and dates back over 2000 years old. Another landmark I found interesting was the Regensburg Cathedral dedicated to St. Peter. It is unofficially 800 years old; meaning it started being constructed about 800 years ago but took 300 years to construct. You can see this in the different colored stones used to build the church representing the different quarries utilized over the years.