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The process of designing cars of tomorrow is very meticulous, and there are several steps before a car can make it to the assembly line. Generally, a design will begin on paper, sometimes as a simple sketch, before the sketch is transformed to take a digital form via computer-aided drafting (CAD). CAD engineers will fit the sketch overtop of the car engine, then before the car is put into real-life production, clay models replicating the design will be constructed. There are methods in the near future which many predict will cut down significantly on physical prototypes, one of these being holograms. Another is a technology already invented by Ford: 3D images via headsets, which let engineers see a virtual version of the vehicle in a virtual cityscape.

These holographic technologies are still projections for the future, and the most successful way of designing a car continues to be CAD. 3D CAD training is applied as a standard now for all types of design, especially vehicles. Design software has improved tremendously in the past 10 years and the cost is low (much lower than holograms would be). Anyone designing the car will have an assortment of CAD design courses under their belt including inventor essentials, project management techniques and construction materials and methods. To see why CAD programs are so crucial to design, here are the benefits:

Benefits of Computer-aided Design

  • Allows designers to share their designs with other engineers and the manufacturing team.
  • Designers can create visual prototypes to share with the public for feedback and marketing purposes.
  • Reduced time from the drawing board to the manufacturing line.
  • CAD can help identify design faults through computer simulations.
  • Many high-end car companies like Bentley showcase their 3D design capabilities.

3D Printing?

AutoCAD colleges will continue to introduce emerging technologies into their curriculums as they become more popular. Within the past several years, engineering and design companies have been toying with the idea of 3D printing. U.S. car manufacturer Local Motors has announced the production of a 3D printed car called Strati, which will be printed over 44 hours then pieced together by engineers. Compared to a standard car which uses upward of 20,000 parts, this 3D printed car only takes 40, and most of the interior body pieces will not be printed, including the battery, motor, and suspension. The goal for manufacturing companies with 3D printing is to make digital car manufacturing more sustainable. The vehicle is set to drive September 13th at the International Manufacturing Technology show in Chicago and it is said 3D cars will be offered for sale by Local Motors within a few months of the release of Strati.