Ever since the first manned flight to the moon in 1968, Ron Garan lay beneath the rocket poster in his bedroom in Yonkers, New York and dreamed of outer space. On May 31, 2008, he finally began the 408-km journey to the International Space Station (ISS) as an American astronaut. His life demonstrates that dreams can come true and that dreaming big is absolutely worth it.
Audi re-defines the future of mobility at the MQ! Innovation 2018
At the Audi MQ! Innovation Summit, astronauts meet robotics developers, futurologists meet engineers, and city planners meet entrepreneurs. Together with approximately 700 guests, they discussed the mobility of the future, the structures of yesteryear, the challenges of the present and the opportunities of tomorrow. We listened in.
We need to look at things from new perspectives, be courageous, and keep asking questions.
His trip to outer space granted him a view that only a select few have been given so far: the Earth in its entirety. In retrospect, it was the things that Garan couldn’tsee from the ISS that fundamentally changed his view of the world: national borders, poor and rich regions, democracies and dictatorships. In elementary school, we learn the geography of our world on a two-dimensional map, and we don’t normally question what we’ve been taught. But people are the ones who have given all of these countries names, organized them into continents, and established different political, social, and economic systems. All these distinctions and rules — which seem so relevant in our daily lives — fell by the wayside for Garan.
Since then, there’s been only one sure way for him to break out of old patterns and keep growing: zooming away from the familiar picture to see the situation in its entirety, then checking each piece of the puzzle to see which ones no longer fit. “When I returned to Earth, I looked out the window of my Soyuz capsule and saw three things that I will never forget as long as I live: a sharp-edged stone, a yellow flower, and some grass. And then it hit me — I was home. I was in Kazakhstan, not in Texas with my family. But being up there had changed that narrow definition of home and homeland.” These days, Garan views many things differently than before his trip to space.
“Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand.”
Never stop questioning, doubting, or testing the status quo — that’s the motto that connects Garan and MQ! host Audi. Of course, not everyone is able to zoom out quite as far as an astronaut. And that’s why Audi created the MQ! Innovation Summit — to serve as an open platform for thought leaders who look at the world from all angles. There is room here to think big, to be inventive, and to see possibilities in the challenges we will face in the future. “We need to stop doing things just because we are used to doing them,” emphasizes Audi interim-CEO Bram Schot. “When people believe in something, they need to hold on to it tightly and be courageous!” And, with that in mind, the MQ! Innovation Summit focuses on the essential question of how Audi will define its vision of mobility in the future.
The participants discussed sustainable power concepts such as electric mobility and fuel cells, the future of autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, and the traffic planning of the future. And Garan is sure of one thing: “Sustainability and innovation can go hand in hand. We now have the chance to lay the foundations of mobility.” So leaving Earth’s atmosphere isn’t required to gain new viewpoints and perspectives. Ron Garan might have solid ground under his feet again, but his view of Earth will remain forever changed. “How we see things and define them also determines how we handle them and what decisions we make,” says Garan. Above his head hangs a picture of the Earth — photographed from outer space.
Audi brings thought leaders to the MQ! Innovation Summit
Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, autonomous and electric mobility. Those are the main topics of Audi’s MQ! Innovation Summit, to be held on November 8 and 9. 700 thought leaders, including cofounder of Apple Computer Steve Wozniak, will convene in Ingolstadt to discuss a “mobility quotient” (MQ) as a measure of a person’s or organization’s mobility.Read more
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