Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) technology are enabling everything from autonomous vehicles to more accurate speech and image recognition.

AI also presents an opportunity for engineers to improve design optimization and increase their efficiency via machine learning systems that can automate a number of tedious design tasks.

One reason that AI is resurgent now is because using GPUs (graphics processing units), the calculations can be run in hours. Modern products are becoming increasingly complicated, and AI accelerates the design process through faster, more efficient engineering. Machine learning, a leading technique for AI, is being used to optimize engineering through more efficient design and quality control.

One of the most well-known AI-related projects at Autodesk is the Dreamcatcher generative CAD software that uses machine learning techniques to generate designs based on designer-designated objectives related to function, materials, performance criteria, cost constraints and other data. Hack Rod and Autodesk used data from sensors in a custom car (and on its driver) to measure strains and stresses. They then fed that data into Dreamcatcher, which used to real-world information to create a new body design that improved the vehicle’s ability to withstand those stresses.

Hack Rod and Autodesk create a new body design based on real-time stress data from sensors in a custom car. (Image Source: Autodesk)

For designers working on future products, AI will be an increasingly important product component in many sectors as more “smart” machines are created. AI can also have a hand in the design process itself–considerably shortening development cycles.

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Artificial Intelligence for Design Gets Real