Day 5: The old timers are the best

This was one the days I had been most excited for as Audi was the only company I knew before this trip. Today we went to the Audi factory, and I was immediately impressed with their layout. In the first building we waited for the tour to begin. There were four different Audi models. As someone who knows very little about cars, I did not fully appreciate how cool and high tech these cars were, but seeing everyone else get very excited, I knew these were special cars. I even got to sit in a couple of them and see some of the special features of these cars.

After looking at the cars, our tour was ready and we headed into a little room to watch an overview video of Audi. I never realized how big the company was until I saw the video. It mentioned that they have their own test track to tests their cars. How cool would it have been to try out one of the cars on that track!

After the video we took a shuttle to our first stop. That was a testament to just how big the factory is because we could not walk to our first stop. Here we saw a lot of robots constructing the cars. While the tour guide was explaining how the robots work together, all I could think about was how much software these robots must have in their systems and how much time it was have taken to create this software. Then we learned that the factory constructs nearly 2,400 cars a day. Next we ventured to another building where we saw human workers whose jobs were to work on the inside of the cars. I enjoyed this part of the tour as I got to appreciate how much work is put into every single car. At one station there were five people working on the inside of the car at once. I watched this one worker for a couple minutes and saw him doing the same motions over and over again. I wondered how he did not get bored from his job as he seemed to be doing the same actions repeatedly. We learned that Audi takes off the doors of the car before they work on the inside of the car and then when the inside work is completed, the doors are placed back onto the car. I never realized how complicated the manufacturing process of an automobile has become.

The tour concluding with the tour guide showing us a screen which monitored the status of the creation of the cars. It showed that one line was behind by three cars and the other by nine. This surprised me because I thought the factory would run perfectly, but looking back on it, all processes must have some measure of error. The guide went on to explain that when the factory ran behind, they never sped up production but just completed the set goal of cars in another shift. After learning this we headed to lunch.

At lunch I decided to eat schnitzel again, and while lunch was relatively uneventful, I noticed that there were different kinds of napkins which explained how to do basic eating techniques such as cracking a walnut and peeling a tomato. I liked this because usually back home napkins are bland. At least these had some character to them.

We went to the Audi museum, and it showed the evolution of the Audi car. While I am not a big car guy, I still was able to enjoy how Audi became one of the largest car companies in the world. My favorite car in the museum was this really beat up older car. Even though most of the other people in my group seemed to enjoy the newer, high tech cars for some reason this car stuck out to me. I imagined someone driving this car when it was considered premium and owning the entire street. Since we were given a decent amount of free time, I still had about forty-five minutes to explore. Three of us decided to explore another building after continuously seeing car after car come out of it. Once we were in the building, we saw a multitude of cars parked in it and realized this was where people who recently purchased a car could come and pick it up and drive away. There were a couple of cars with huge ribbons on them so I assume people were surprising loved ones with a couple of these cars.

With free time being over we headed to a small meeting room to have a presentation on Audi. At this presentation I learned so much about the company that I personally think that it was the most informative one yet. There was a beginning video which started with the number 9 billion representing the number of people there will be in the world and ended with 1 which said there was one dream for Audi. I really enjoyed this as I instantly became engaged in the dialogue. Throughout the presentation I learned that one of Audi’s goals is to cut carbon dioxide emissions and just overall make the air cleaner. I also learned that Audi is continuously pushing to become more and more innovative while keeping their status as a premium brand. The presenter also talked about autonomous cars and how people will one day be able to have a bed, bar, and/or tv in their car while being driven from place to place. This made me very excited for the future of the automobile industry. The presentation ended and we thanked the Audi workers and headed back to the hotel.

That night a couple of us went to the restaurant Vapianos which is an Italian restaurant where they cook the food in front you. My cook did not speak or understand English very well but we were able to eventually communicate. Afterwards, the cook smiled, and I could see how proud she was of herself for figuring out what I wanted. I thought this was interesting because I rarely have struggles to communicate with people back home. This reminded me I was in a foreign country and people here are constantly working on their English. The dinner was great and then I headed back to the hotel.

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