Bats and fire service personnel Daimler Children's University 2016

400 children are attentively following their lecturer's presentation. As part of a children's university lecture in Sindelfingen, Markus Schäfer, responsible for Production and Purchasing at Mercedes-Benz Cars, explains why exactly the car is currently being reinvented.

Location: vehicle handover facility at the Mercedes-Benz Customer Center in Sindelfingen. Markus Schäfer looks into the puzzled and curious eyes of eight to twelve year-old pupils. But what was it about in detail? Elements including the functionalities of different engines and motors. Combustion engines, plug-in hybrids, electric motors and fuel cell drives – every concept is different. Markus Schäfer sets fire to a few drops of petrol to illustrate how fuel drives combustion engines. The children did not expect that. Fire service personnel from Sindelfingen's plant fire service was at hand to guarantee safety.

400 students take part in the lecture.

From drives, the lecture moved on to autonomous driving. In this process, Markus Schäfer describes to children how cameras act as the eyes and sensors as the ears of cars. Developers searched for inspiration in nature to come up with this technology. Inspiration from bats to be precise. They scan their environment using ultrasound and echoes help them identify obstructions. This is exactly how the autonomously driving cars of the future will be handling situations. After the lecture Markus Schäfer and the children collected many outstanding and creative ideas to develop new dream cars. The results were very varied. However, almost all participants would like a flying car.

I really enjoyed the afternoon together with my young listeners. It is fun to share the fascination of motorcars with children and speak to them about what the mobile future may look like.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management

The children's university lecture is a series of events organised by Daimler's education initiative Genius. Daimler intends to use Genius to spark a passion in children and young adults for science and technology. In this process, the initiative is particularly focussing on maths, computer science, science and technology. Consequently, Genius is counteracting young adults' dwindling interest in technical subjects in the long run to guarantee the availability of young engineers in the future. Especially girls are addressed as they are still under-represented in the technical disciplines.

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