The brainchild of the Primordial Research Project, this car is based on billions of data points plugged into generative-design software.
When you hear about a plan to build the first car ever designed and engineered by an artificially intelligent system, it sounds compelling. Especially when the men explaining their vision are named–I kid you not–Mickey and Mouse.
The car, known as the Hack Rod, could well be the first vehicle with a nervous system. The brainchild of the Primordial Research Project, a collaboration between design software giant Autodesk and the balls-to-the-wall media company Bandito Brothers— producers of projects as disparate as a Hollywood military blockbuster starring anonymous real-life Navy SEALs and a world-record jump starring a life-size Hot Wheels–the idea was to let a computer create the perfect car based on innumerable volumes of real-world data.
The ringleaders of this particular project are Autodesk research fellow Mickey McManus and Bandito Brothers CEO and creative director Mouse McCoy. McManus has written a heady tome about the proliferation of trillions of small computing devices–sensors–everywhere in our world today. McCoy is a former professional motorcycle racer and stuntman who has spent thousands of hours with top Hollywood directors.
What if a CAD system could generate thousands of design options that all meet your specified goals? It’s no longer what if: it’s Project Dreamcatcher, the next generation of CAD. Dreamcatcher is a generative design system that enables designers to craft a definition of their design problem through goals and constraints. This information is used to synthesize alternative design solutions that meet the objectives. Designers are able to explore trade-offs between many alternative approaches and select design solutions for manufacture.
Watch the design process for a 3D printed skateboard using topology optimization.
Within generative design software solutions help engineers and orthopedic implant specialists produce lightweight, latticed designs that are functionally optimized and accurate for additive manufacturing.
A standalone topology optimization software for PTC® Creo® users. Only FNF files generated by PTC® Creo® are accepted as input.
The project began with the need to significantly increase the rigidity of the Wheel Upright without changing the weight or materials used. With the help of cutting-edge simulation tools and using the full range of structural design freedom offered by 3D printing technology, the partners produced a Wheel Upright that is up to five times more rigid than its predecessor. Kevin Smith, Sales Director with voxeljet UK, describes the benefits as follows: “The design freedom of additive manufacturing processes, combined with simulation, allows us to come up with a new generation of designs that overcome the earlier conventional design limitations.” It was voxeljet’s 3D printing process that made it possible to implement cast part geometries with this level of complexity. “Because of this, the CMF jurors had a hard time at first believing that this complex Wheel Upright was an aluminum investment-cast part,” Smith adds. This project is an impressive demonstration of the potential that exists with regard to boosting performance and/or reducing weight.
This research explored precedents in the optimization and a digital re-fabrication of building structures, namely the Sydney Opera house Arup beam, while re-conceptualizing the original design to create a new set of tools for architects and designers. The Arup beam was the result of a multidisciplinary collaborative design optimization exercise where input from both architects and engineers contributed to its final form. For a variety of aesthetic, performative and structural reasons, the beam features a varying section along its span. In researching the beam, the authors explored three areas crucial to conceiving an innovative contemporary re-fabrication of the Arup beam.
A partition designed to save weight (and fuel)
For passengers, it’s a distinctly unremarkable part of a plane’s interior, but for aircraft manufacturers it’s one of many significant pieces in a major engineering puzzle to minimise weight, while retaining great design and infrastructure safety.