May 8th: With another day filled with company visit surprises and beautiful city tours, it’s hard to find faults with the trip.
Today we took a trip out to the city of Regensburg, which was about an hour and a half away from Augsburg. Being the 4th largest city in Bavaria (following Augsburg), it was interesting to see a city that had a powerful history everywhere you turned.
The first site we saw once we crossed the bridge into Regensburg was the St. Paul’s Cathedral, which had beautiful French Gothic style. Our tour guide informed us that it took over “300” years to build, but it was technically never actually finished. The inside of the cathedral was incredibly beautiful, filled with stained glass windows and one of the biggest organs I had ever seen.
Apart from the cathedral, the city overall had stunning and adorable architecture filled with cathedral-like archways and pastels. Being surrounded by all of the buildings and narrow alleyways with shops made it feel almost as if we were in a movie.
Theoretically enclosing the city were streets that made a square completely around it, which we could see on a map. I thought this was interesting because they date to the walls that use to surround the city. Although they have come down, the streets still act in their place, tying the city together. Another building our tour guide pointed out to us was a tall tower that existed in the center of town. After quizzing us with guesses, we found out the true purpose of the tower was solely for vanity since there was no way to even climb to the top for lookout purposes. Once we finished up our tour of Regensburg, we crossed back over the Danube river to go off to our next cite.
The company tour for today was Continental, which was so much more than any of us were expecting from what we thought was simply a tire company. Within Continental, there are 544 sites in over 60 different countries. In Regensburg alone they employee around 7,700 employees. Apart from the normal tires industry, we assumed their focus was, we actually got to learn the 5 divisions the company consists of chassis and safety, powertrain, interior, tires, and contitech. After some small talk in the beginning, we went off to the factory tour.
The factory tour began with suiting up in our electric resistant outfits of lab vest, goggles, and shoe covers. We had to go through a shock test to even make sure our outfits were working correctly. As previously mentioned, the tour was far from what we expected. The production site we looked into was incredibly high tech, this being the only one of its kind that offers tours to outsiders. Filled with computers and data machines I knew nothing about, I tried to follow along as our guide explained the circuit boards that were being created, but I only got a general idea of what was being made.
One of the coolest things on the site were the self-powered robots that were traveling across the factory. Delivering different packages, the robots travel on their own to complete different commands. They could sense when there was an obstacle in the way (i.e., our group) and would pause to avoid it, then try to find a way around it. We were told by our guide that once one robot registers an obstacle, then that data is shared with all of them so they can all avoid it.
The company as a whole had much more tech than I could have imagined. As we learned in our discussion following the tour, the company sees the valuable future of artificial intelligence and plans to work further in that field. The future Continental saw within the automobile industry was similar to the other companies we have visited, however, they provided us with a clear acronym called ACES, standing for autonomous, connected, electric, and shared. Continental had a strong view of the automobile industry of the future and this was not only clear within the presentation, but their product line as well.
Overall, the highlight of the day had to be exploring a new city within Germany. It is so exciting to see the vast culture of Germany through the architecture and history within the different large cities. Also, it is hard to find a city as cute as Regensburg.