Thought Leadership

How AI is augmenting design tools – Part 2

By Spencer Acain

To design the next generation of smart, sustainable and cutting-edge products companies must be able to leverage their data and talents to the fullest extent. AI is a powerful tool in achieving that goal especially in industries as complex as aerospace and defense (A&D) where AI offers the potential to do everything from harnessing proprietary data lakes and deliver smarter UI’s to generating design variations of complex systems.

In a recent podcast VP of A&D for Siemens, Todd Tuthill was joined by Dr. Justin Hodges, AI/ML Technical specialist and product manager for Siemens Simcenter, in a continuing discussion of the applications of AI to design in the A&D industry. Check out the full episode here, read the first part of this blog here, or keep reading for some of the AI highlights of their talk.

Building the tool of today

Computer aided design and engineering are cornerstones of any modern design project especially for products that are as complex as aircraft and the core technology underpinning that has been steadily evolving for more than 40 years. However, as the tools and technology progress and become more feature-rich and powerful, they also become increasingly complex and difficult to use, building on old design practices even as other fields forge on in new directions.

AI offers the potential to make design tools as easy to use and accessible as a smartphone Todd says. Allowing people to talk to and interface with complex design tools in a simple and intuitive way, not unlike using a smartphone. The benefits to this approach are numerous, not only making the software easier to use and flattening the traditionally long learning curve, but also attracting a new generation of future engineers who, already familiar with the design ethos of modern consumer software and electronics may find the convoluted and sometimes archaic ways of old software daunting to learn.

Democratizing access

As AI makes tools easier to use, it also makes it intrinsically more accessible. Todd highlights how to be an aerospace engineer today, someone would need to be both an expert aerospace engineer and an expert at using the tools as well. This sets the barrier of entry high and can keep people who may otherwise have a lot to contribute from exercising their full potential.

By allowing AI to take on the role of tool expert, users can focus on being an expert in their given field instead, allowing the AI to support them as needed. This democratizes access to the tool itself, allowing more people to quickly and easily contribute to their fields of expertise without being restricted by a lack of experience in a potentially unrelated area.

Justin also notes how many AI models and their research are, themselves, being made open source and publicly available, furthering expanding the scope of access to these types of technologies. This democratizes access to both the AI technology itself as well as supporting its integration into various tools without the need to rely on a 3rd party to provide the “AI magic” required to make the solution work.

AI has the potential to revolutionize the way humans and computers interact, connecting people, processes and data in ways that were never possible before. This process will help break down the barriers between imagination and creation, allowing those with the knowledge and ideas to share their vision unhindered by what tools they may or may not be an expert at using. While that is a far off dream for now, the first steps are already being taken, with AI assisting in capturing valuable expertise and using it to make tools easier and more convenient to use, heralding what will surely be a new paradigm for design.

Siemens Digital Industries Software helps organizations of all sizes digitally transform using software, hardware and services from the Siemens Xcelerator business platform. Siemens’ software and the comprehensive digital twin enable companies to optimize their design, engineering and manufacturing processes to turn today’s ideas into the sustainable products of the future. From chips to entire systems, from product to process, across all industries. Siemens Digital Industries Software – Accelerating transformation.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at