This morning was a rough one. I woke up at 6:40 am because we were going to Audi, and we had to get up early to get there. We had breakfast like usual and hopped on the bus. Today, in my head, I was planning a route for where to run. In doing so, I realized that there aren’t any hills. Germany, at least Bavaria/Augsburg, is primarily flat. Then I remembered the flight in. I had looked out the window and saw a land that was flat for miles. From a runner’s perspective, this is was amazing to not see hills, which we are so used to in Pittsburgh. And for as small and compact as Germany is, I expected there to be more hills. Like I literally didn’t see any. We arrived at the Audi headquarters, and boy was it a sight to see.
We walked into a building where we would start our tour. In this building, there many different Audi models that we were able to get in and mess with. We then began the tour, and it was amazing. I have so much more respect for factories, especially how efficient everything is. Every piece of equipment interacts with each other and doesn’t continue until they are all done with their own step. I never realized how much space you need to in order to go through with this type of manufacturing. Ravi and I were baffled at the amount of data that needs to be transferred. One of the coolest parts was how synchronized every machine was. Throughout each part of the process, the machines would bring parts specifically for the chassis that was being worked on. For example, the correct windshield, the right motor. My favorite part of the whole process were the machines for spot welding. I have always been interested in welding since I was young, and this gave me a chance to see what it looks and feels like on a grand scale. After the tour was over, we went to get lunch at the Audi cafeteria. For being at the headquarters of such a big named company, I was surprised at the limited variety of food. I was also surprised at how pricey the food was, and the size of the cafeteria was very small compared to what I was expecting. All in all, the lunch was still very good, with the quality of food being great. I had myself had a big salad with a pretzels and a side of potatoes and green beans.
After lunch we went to the Audi museum where we were able to see all the different types of Audi that have been produced over the years and how they have progressed. This was very intriguing to me because I learned that they have been around for quite some time, and their design has drastically changed throughout the years. I have a whole new appreciation for Audi for being able to stay afloat with the changing industry for so long. They started in the 70’s with edgy cars and progressed to become more sleek and performance oriented. Even though I enjoy seeing old cars, the newer models are what I’m the most interested in. From the very beginning, Eamonn and I were wondering where the exhibition was. The exhibition area was where Audi displayed all their latest and greatest models, and we were allowed to sit and play. The model Eamonn and I were the most curious about trying was the e-tron, their new fully electric SUV.
After sitting in and messing with the e-tron, we were hooked immediately. Besides from being electric, the main thing that sets it apart is the mirrors. It has small cameras on either side instead of actual mirrors. Those cameras are constantly filming what’s going on, and the film is displayed on the inside of the door. These cameras not only serve to get rid of blind spots, but also help the overall air resistance the vehicle is receiving. This in turn allows the e-tron to travel around 10 kilometer more. One thing that kept tricking Eamonn and I was that the commas and periods on the price tags are switched compared to the states. So instead of the Audi R8 being €223,000.00 the prices listed was €223.000,00 which is crazy.
After we had our fun with the cars, we all gathered together for a lecture about the innovation of Audi. This lecture was very cool in my opinion, being jam packed full of little facts no one knew. The one thing I loved most about the lecture was the fact that they were brutally honest. They showed us a graph that was performance vs. progress. They said their goal was the top right which means to be progressive while being the best in performance that they can be. They were very honest by saying Mercedes is ahead of them a little bit, but in design Audi was ahead. After the lecture we messed with the cars again, took a group photo and left. On the way back, I noticed that the weather here, for right now, is like Pittsburgh. Rainy. Thank you!!!