I Made This

Creating stunning designs with a human touch - Mr. Martin Uhlarik

AI (Artificial Intelligence) has permeated into our work and life faster than anticipated. Automotive design is typically one of the first to adopt new and cutting-edge tech, so it was only prudent to speak to one of the most prolific automotive designers of the country. Mr. Martin Uhlarik, Head of Global Design at Tata Motors takes us through his interpretation of the tech that could change the face of earth. Or well, at least of Tata Motors….

1. Do you think AI will eventually be able to design cars from scratch without human input?
While AI has made significant advancements in various fields, including design and engineering, it is important to consider the role of human creativity and expertise in the design process. As designers, it is our responsibility to create products that both reflect the brand's philosophy and appeal to consumer sensibilities.
AI possesses impressive capabilities of processing vast data, identifying patterns, and generating solutions. It can automate certain aspects of the design process and assist human designers in generating ideas or optimizing designs based on specified parameters. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that AI is a tool that relies on human input and guidance. While it can enhance and expedite certain aspects of car design, it does not possess inherent creativity or the ability to fully grasp the nuances of human preferences, emotions, and cultural contexts.
The development of numerous tools that have aided designers in conceptualising ground-breaking designs and enhancing their creativity has always benefited the field of car design. The potential of human ingenuity is limitless, and recent innovations in AI technology have demonstrated its capabilities in terms of quality and speed. The future of car designing is constantly evolving, and designers can always take advantage of the potential that AI presents as a powerful tool.
It is safe to say while AI can significantly enhance the car design process, it is unlikely to completely replace human input and creativity. The synergy between AI and human designers is likely to yield the most innovative and successful car designs in the future.

2. Will AI ever be creative enough to design unique vehicles that push the boundaries of automotive design?
While AI has shown remarkable advancements in generating novel designs, there are certain aspects of creativity that remain inherent to human designers. Creativity in automotive design goes beyond simply generating unique shapes or aesthetics. It involves a deep understanding of human emotions, cultural contexts, and societal trends. It requires the ability to push boundaries, challenge conventions, and evoke powerful emotions through design.
A designer functions very similarly to the AI system in many ways. They look around for inspiration and use it as inputs for their designs, much like how an AI system requires inputs to produce the desired results. Design is a crucial differentiator in car designing, much like technology. AI offers designers a singular opportunity to perfect their creations and produce a ground-breaking product. It also offers designers the chance to take advantage of the potential of cutting-edge technology, which they can use to fine-tune their sensibilities and sharpen their focus on the key objectives. Designers will ultimately need to use their judgement, be more discriminating and unwavering in their ultimate vision and intent, while resisting the temptation to use the endless creative options that AI tools offer.

3. What new skills will automotive designers need to learn as AI becomes more advanced?

The key to successfully integrating AI-driven technology into vehicle design is to become proficient in AI integration. Furthermore, in order to improve safety features and optimise autonomous driving systems, a solid understanding of machine learning principles will be required. It will be essential to have data analysis and interpretation skills to comprehend AI-generated insights to produce user-centric designs. The breadth and depth of responsibilities for vehicle design have also increased as a result of production technologies and digitization. The ability to be creatively inclined and to constantly look for inspiration around them is the most essential trait that designers must possess. This would ensure compelling, user-friendly, and technologically advanced vehicles by balancing AI's capabilities with emotional and aesthetic factors.

4. How might AI change the role of human designers in the automotive industry?

The ongoing development of AI technology will undoubtedly be crucial to the evolution of car design. Instead of spending hours sketching out their designs, designers will have more time today to improve them. Saving time, effort, and money will be possible with the ability to conceptualise potential designs beforehand and produce lifelike renderings. It's crucial to remember that artificial intelligence is a young technology with a tonne of potential. It will undoubtedly open the door to levels of specialisation that are not currently anticipated. There are currently tools that convert straightforward gestures and words into compelling shapes and stirring images. The rapid advancement in technology would eventually lead to the production of animated sculptures that are developed from the thoughts and emotions of humans.

5. What kind of computational resources do you think will be required for AI to design cars that meet all safety and legal requirements?

The laws of physics and actual safety and legal requirements are just a few of the many laws that must be followed during the design process. Other essential considerations include those relating to cost, manufacturing, and the readiness of certain emerging technologies to scale. A modern algorithm or artificial intelligence (A.I.) could quickly assess the viability of one's ideas and concentrate on the result by making use of vast amounts of historical data and physical constraints. Through a number of predetermined parameters, it will also be possible to receive immediate feedback on consumer preferences and market trends. Designers will be empowered and freed to concentrate on the pure expression of their imagination and vision as a result of all of these factors.

6. Do you think neural networks will be the primary tool used for AI-assisted automotive design, or might other algorithms play a role?

Regenerative design already combines neural networks and other algorithms and keeps evolving. As a never-ending pursuit, design can harness machine learning and an enormous amount of historical data as exponential partners. By fusing engineering and art, design has the power to give inanimate objects life. Designing with a data-centric, logical, and rational mindset while incorporating human-like emotions will only improve the overall process and the resultant products. A variety of algorithms with different strengths will likely be used in the future of AI-assisted automotive design to produce safe, effective, and innovative vehicles for groundbreaking advancements in the automotive industry.

7. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the development of AI that can design vehicles?

The biggest challenge that artificial intelligence development faces is that it lacks the capability for original thought. Humans are fortunate to possess this quality. Designers therefore have the opportunity to concentrate on their own distinctive viewpoint and artistic intuition, allowing AI to support the development of their ideas rather than completely replacing them. They can harness the power of technology while preserving their individuality in the design process by embracing the collaboration between human creativity and AI capabilities.

8. What are the most innovative design elements of the Avinya and Curvv and will any of the mainstream cars incorporate any of those?
The AVINYA and Curvv are more than just concepts; they are "statements of intent" and design commitments. As a result, what was showcased will be released in the market with 90% of the original design. The AVINYA represents a shift in automotive design, as it will provide an invigorating mobility experience by utilising cutting-edge technologies. In its design ethos, it prioritizes wellness and sustainability. The AVINYA was conceptualised using a carefully chosen multi-sensory, holistic approach.
The production-ready version of the CURVV, which embodies a precise, sharp, digital, yet dynamic and sporty design that is a metaphor for its radical functionality and performance, was on display at the Auto Expo 2023. The CURVV is made to combine the practicality and usability of an SUV with the dynamic athleticism of a coupe SUV with a sloping roof line, with a focus on comfort and cargo space.