General Motors is changing the way it makes car components. The company partnered with software giant Autodesk on a generative software design technology that could transform the way it designs vehicles.
As GM strives towards the zero-emission vehicle, weight is an ever-pressing issue. This new software uses cloud computing and artificial intelligence algorithms to create hundreds of design iterations for new parts. The parts can combine several legacy components into one new, more organic-looking part.
For example, consider this seat bracket that GM used as a proof-of-concept. The software came up with more than 150 designs that consolidated eight components into one, making the part 40 percent lighter, and the bracket 20 percent stronger.
Until now, parts like the seat bracket were not manufacturable, but now, with the advances in additive manufacturing and 3D printing, exotic part geometries are both possible and reliable.
The seat bracket is the tip of the iceberg, as the design software will provide many new ways to reduce vehicle mass, consolidate parts, and manufacture vehicles that just were not possible using traditional design optimization methods.
Going forward, engineers from Autodesk and GM plan to collaborate through a series of onsite meetings to share ideas and expertise that could lead to breakthroughs in future vehicles.