My Car Quest

July 23, 2024

The AI Robot Designer vs Real Human Designers

by Wallace Wyss –

I just saw a video on the latest computer chips derived from the chips invented for video games. Now the application has spread to real life and these computers will out think humans, so much so I can see one occupation that could be threatened–that of car designer.

In the old days an order came from on high–say for a two door sports car–and the designers would take months making drawings (some still use paper) but now computers make drawings. The drawings would be critiqued at meetings and a number of changes recommended (“Can’t you make that rear spoiler smaller, Fred?”).

"Iso Grifo sports car on the Big Sur coast" by Bing Copilot - input from Mike Gulett

“Iso Grifo sports car on the Big Sur coast” by Bing Copilot – input from Mike Gulett

Then a clay model would be made, often hand sculpted. Sometimes di-noced, basically a thin sheet of material to make it look like a painted car. Maybe even simulated chrome. Then the clay models are judged and more changes made. Takes years–two at least.

Now with these new chips an order can be sent to the computer and in mere hundredths of a second it can come up with pictures of a proposed design. I presume orders can be sent while it’s emerging like “Make the side scoop more like a Ferrari Superfast” and the changes will be added in seconds. The management will have all views for a new design done before lunch. Then presumably the drawings can be measured and those measurements sent to a 5-axis milling machine which begins hacking away at a clay model. Life size. In minutes it is done. Only the laying on of color will slow it down.

Meanwhile I wonder how this affects students just starting out at the Art Center College of Design, the Center for Creative Studies and the like? When they graduate will humans still be designing cars?

Frank Stephenson, the most visible of former designers who is now free lancing but designed many memorable cars, says he sees AI as a time saver–no more months needed to make drawings. He says this new system allows us to refine more than the old methods. Still he admits he’s glad he was a designer when pencil and paper were where you started.

I am still on the human side. I think the views of a person like 80-plus designer Giorgetto Giugiaro–are not to be discounted, he could approve a shape based on his design knowledge, his experience. But the question remains; should car design students change their majors now?

I think of those photographers who were expert in developing film. Film? What’s that?

"Iso Grifo sports car on the Big Sur coast" by Bing Copilot - input from Mike Gulett

“Iso Grifo sports car on the Big Sur coast” by Bing Copilot – input from Mike Gulett

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR Wallace Wyss is a fine artist specializing in depicting exotic cars. He does not use a computer to make his art.

 
 
 
 
 
 

DALL·E 2023-02-08 16.27.24 - Iso grifo car water color painting

“Iso grifo car water color painting” by Dall-E – input by Mike Gulett

I created the three images shown here using input to the Bing Copilot AI and the Dall-E AI. Notice how the three designs look familiar, like they could be real cars?

Mike Gulett, Editor

Summary
The AI Robot Designer vs Real Human Designers
Article Name
The AI Robot Designer vs Real Human Designers
Description
In the old days a design order came from on high and the car designers would take months making drawings (some still use paper) but now computers make the drawings.
Author

Comments

  1. Rob Krantz says

    I used to draw cars when I was a kid. Lots of fun but I never had the artistic talent to become an actual automotive designer but wish I had that skill. Interesting to read what AI can do re. automotive design and imagine that the time savings are tremendous as noted. Computers have changed the world, for better and worse and AI adds another element, but human input will IMO always be needed. Thanks for the interesting read. In terms of that rear spoiler, Fred should leave it as designed!

  2. wallace wyss says

    I like your input, Mike but the GTO looks better with bubble headlamps, nostalgia wise. But the background is so magnificent it brings me back to where is the AI stealing it from? Somewhere there’s a photographer who took that picture of the background . and who does the finished image belong to now? Can someone else contact Bing Copilot and use that picture without your permission? I can envision thousands of commercial illustrators losing their assignments now that AI and your Bing Copilot are ready to step in and do the job in seconds….

    • Wallace,

      The AI software does not know on its own what the Big Sur coast looks like or any given car model. That information has to be made available by the programmers.

      Anyone could have created these images, or similar ones, as I did. And I believe they may be copyright free.

  3. WALLACE WYSS says

    Mike, you confirm my observation–when you say “anybody” that could mean a 10-year old kid. So here you have art students embarking on a creative career but when they get out in the field, they will be competing against obviously talented newcomers who don’t have any academic credentials whatsoever but do have a computer and know how to use AI.

  4. John Parker says

    Considering that if you de-badge most cars (SUV, Pickup) the average person would not be able to tell you who built it. There is almost no creativity in auto design anymore so who care if a person or AI designs next year’s lump of metal with wheels.

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