“The tools to create the cars of the future”: Autodesk in Raconteur

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Brandy Ryan November 16, 2021 2 min read

” ‘We’re a group of passionate people with decades of experience in automotive design…. We’re in position to provide best-in-class tools for the automotive design studio and our customers in that space to get the latest and greatest designs on the market.’ ” Thomas Heermann, VP Automotive, Conceptual Design and XR

Raconteur spoke to our VP of Automotive, Conceptual Design and XR, Thomas Heermann this past July. They talked about the future of transportation and how Autodesk supports the creative minds at the forefront.

To read the piece in its entirety, head over to Raconteur. (Note: you will have to subscribe for this free content.) To check out some of the highlights, keep reading.

The evolution of car design

The changes in vehicle design over the last 50 years have been astonishing. And they haven’t stopped. The vehicles we haven’t seen yet are bound to be as unimaginable to us today as they were to the last century’s designers. That’s where Autodesk comes in, offering best-in-class tools for the designers of today and tomorrow. Thomas and his team understand the importance of design: it’s “a differentiator. It’s not just about a badge or logo. It’s about the topology, the curvature.”

Digitization and its impact on design studios

Key to any design are the right tools: tools that not only enable but also encourage creativity, collaboration, iteration. A big part of the future for any product design is digitization, which “allows different people, departments and companies to collaborate at a scale and speed never seen before.”

Cue XR (eXtended Reality), a spectrum of tools and technologies that range from augmented reality through mixed reality to virtual reality. Design review and design decisions are easier than ever, with the ability for designers and stakeholders to meet virtually, from anywhere in the world.

“What’s interesting is the convergence between the physical and digital worlds,” Thomas notes, “they are always in sync. And no matter where you are, what device you have, you can collaborate on the latest designs, share your opinions, get stakeholders aligned. You can even make decisions on digital models with confidence and that’s one of the things that has set us apart over the last couple of years.”

Flexibility and freedom for the creative mind

We’ve all benefited from developments in computer power and technology, developments that let us accomplish tasks in minutes (that used to take days). That speed isn’t just about quickening the process, it’s also about giving designers more freedom to experiment, to pursue different paths. And it’s key to maintaining “design intent”—ensuring the designer’s intention comes through clearly to the engineers who will produce that design.

Autodesk tools have been made with design intent in mind, so that there isn’t a gap between design and engineering. Because the software has “those components of visibility already inside,” designers are able to “transport the intent to the production.”

The big picture

Autodesk’s industry breadth makes it a key player for the future of vehicle design, whatever form that may take. Thomas explains, “Because we do engineering, we do architecture, we bring these domains together and give our customers a bigger and more inclusive picture.” That bigger picture incorporates key themes (mobility, sustainability, accessibility) into cohesive solutions (architectural planning meets mechanical design and engineering) and seamless integration (the end user experience).

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