German automaker Volkswagen has trained an artificial intelligence network to produce 3D-printed car components.
In a process referred to as Generative Design, Volkswagen has taught its AI to focus on priority areas of a vehicle, such as its structural strength. It will then 3D print parts of a car to fit each requirement.
Further, VW’s AI can sift through thousands of components to figure out which components would be best suited for a particular part of production. It would otherwise be infeasible for an engineer to go through all of these parts and do the same. The actual act of 3D-printing can be more time and cost-efficient, too, replacing injection-molded or milled pieces.
VW showed off the 3D-printing designs in its recently revealed VW Type 20 concept. As of now, it’s unclear in what other vehicles these 3D printing tools might be used, but in any case, it’s a solid proof-of-concept for now.