"It’s all going automated," Liedtke said. "We're going to open up our first automated footwear factory in the first quarter of 2016 [in Germany]." Not only will adidas aim for autonomy, these factories will also be incredibly nimble, almost portable. "It’s going to be small, it's going to be a pilot, but it fits within a cargo container."
Liedtke believes that pilot program in Germany could translate to greater success in the U.S. "It's all a part of speeding the future. We call it 'Speed Factories.' Because ultimately if we get this thing right, we can put it in Detroit. We can bring manufacturing back to Detroit and that's where we want to be in 2017."