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The Role of AI in the Future of Computer-Aided Design

Artificial intelligence is a significant buzzword no matter the industry, and computer-aided design is absolutely no different.

Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the endeavor, AI assistance stands every chance of revolutionizing how engineers work on the design process.

It will become quicker and more efficient and potentially lead to tangibly better results at every stage, especially in conjunction with machine learning.

As top engineering recruiters we will explore the possiblities.

Examples of Combining AI and CAD

The use of artificial intelligence in industry has a pedigree and a track record, but it remains firmly in the growth phase.

As a result, it’s better viewed as support for existing processes rather than something that will replace skilled designers at any point in the near future.

Nevertheless, the technology has already made great strides in the engineering world and boasts numerous real-world examples, including:

Smartphones and GPS

Phones and GPS benefit from already being heavily reliant on structured data. The more data available to artificial intelligence systems, and the more logically it’s organized, the better the outcomes.

AI is used to reduce labor-intensive tasks in the design process, such as data analytics and mapping.

Piping Systems Design

Finnish company Tampella Power Industries pioneered the use of artificial intelligence in the design process by using AI to simulate design decisions based on layouts and connectivity.

In doing so, they mitigated risk and automated the process of discovering the best possible structure.

SolidWorks CAM Automation

SolidWorks, a CAD software developer, has long implemented AI into its products, often so subtly that those implementations are difficult to notice.

For many years, their CAD software has identified features and characters and then manipulated them accordingly.

Modern iterations can now automatically take a part design and use AI to create the manufacturing toolpath automatically.

How AI Helps in Computer-Aided Design

Modern artificial intelligence systems operate over four key areas:

·Learning: Artificial intelligence is all about automated improvement. It may use trial and error or sheer guesswork to solve a problem. Once it completes something correctly and adequately, it will then save that information for future reference.

·Reasoning: AI utilizes machine learning, rules engines, logic programs, and more to identify the best possible course of action based on programming and education.

For end-users, this saves time, as the technology essentially puts its experience to use while carrying out a far greater number of calculations per second to achieve the best results.

·Problem Resolution: It’s vital not to overlook the fact that artificial intelligence still relies on computers and software. As such, it’s prone to encountering bugs and programming errors.

However, artificial intelligence software is equipped to overcome these issues in the same way as it would solve any other problem.

·Language Learning: The likes of Siri and Alexa are prime examples of computers becoming increasingly able to understand and act upon human language.

They’re also AI tools in their own right. As design AI becomes more competent, it becomes more capable of handling real-world applications requested in standard formats rather than dedicated code.

AI’s Role in Creating Better Designs

From unique industrial layouts to facilities management and much more besides, artificial intelligence is destined to make the lives of designers of every discipline easier.

There is no theoretical limit to the competencies of AI in design or indeed any other profession. It is likely to enhance the design process through a number of exciting perks in the short term.


The design process can be long and laborious, even when a computer already does much of the work.

However, from crunching data and making recommendations to automatically putting the right assets in place, AI stands every chance of speeding up the design process.

There are already examples of designers being able to hand over hand-drawn sketches to AI software, which will interpret those sketches based on a handful of parameters to create a digital prototype.


An artificial intelligence system will, over time, come to recognize what works and what doesn’t – potentially to a greater extent than the designer.

Then, using a combination of experience and simulations, it will be able to predict reasons why a specific design choice may or may not work.

This can save many hours of testing and prevent the creation of items that were always destined for failure.


The use of AI for personalization is a hot topic in its own right and has people in the marketing industry salivating at the possibilities.

Fortunately, machines don’t mind who they personalize their output too, and they could become an indispensable ally of designers in their own right. No two CAD users are precisely the same in their approach and what they consider great design.

Over time, AI software will not only adapt to best practices and new ideas but will also effectively serve as an extension of a designer’s own style and approach.

Wrapping Up

The general consensus among designers and engineers is that artificial intelligence is unlikely to replace them altogether at any point in the coming years. Indeed, the outlook is generally far more favorable.

This is because rather than eliminating the human side of creativity and problem-solving, AI will augment the skills of designers while taking on board far more knowledge than humanly possible.

Ultimately, the end result will be better designs in less time, giving designers the freedom and flexibility to tackle more projects with an increased success rate in getting things right the first time.

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