Factory Tour: Agostini vs. Rossi – It’s Not What You Think

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Towards the end of last year, I spent some time bumming around Italy, and one of my many stops was the Dainese headquarters in Vicenza, Italy. A company that is responsible for protecting many of the top motorcycle racers, as well as Yours Truly, Dainese is a company focused on safety, but this focus is really a bi-product of the Italian company’s thirst for competition.

Competition is of course about finding out who is the best, and at the pinnacle of that decision is finding out who is the Greatest of All Time, or G.O.A.T. And in motorcycle racing, when you think of the term “G.O.A.T.” two names come to mind: Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi.

Motorcycle racing fans can debate well into the night as to which of these Italian racers is truly the greatest. Regardless who you pick though, both men are legends, and both men have been supported throughout their careers by Dainese.

That brings us back to my trip to Vicenza, because the battle between these two great riders continues, just not in the way you would suspect.

Past a few doors, one finds themselves in the Dainese warehouse and shipping department — a space belonging to two autonomous robots. True to the Dainese spirit (the marketers would probably call it the D-Spirit, no?), these robots can’t just be any ordinary machines. Fitted with liveries from Ago and The Doctor, Dainese’s warehouse is a new kind of race track.

Unloading palettes from a conveyor belt that attaches to a massive warehouse, “Rossi” and “Ago” take their loads to pre-determined spots on the warehouse floor, where they can be stored before they are shipped around the world.

Controlled by computers and sensors, the two machines make an interesting dance as they wind down their paths, dodge passers-by, and organize their floor space. For bonus points, they don’t have coffee breaks, they don’t have sick days, and they certainly don’t take the entire month of August off. In other words, they are every Italian CEO’s dream employee.

Who has moved the most palettes? Traveled the farthest? Lifted the most leather suits? The folks at Dainese won’t say — like the debate surrounding the G.O.A.T. status, we will leave it up to your own opinions to decide.




Photos: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0