Future GM Vehicles To Be Lighter Thanks To 3D Printing And New Design Technology

General Motors has been introducing a handful of vehicles that are lighter than their predecessors and this trend will likely continue thanks to a partnership with Autodesk.

As the company explains, they are the first automaker in North America to use Autodesk’s new generative design software which is “key to developing efficient and lighter alternative propulsion and zero emission vehicles.” GM goes on to say the software uses AI-based algorithms to rapidly explore multiple different part designs based on a series of user set parameters such as weight, strength, material and fabrication method.

The software generates hundreds of different designs and many of them are often an “organic-looking geometric design.” After the process is completed, an engineer determines the best possible part design.

According to GM’s vice president of global vehicle components and subsystems, Ken Kelzer, “This disruptive technology provides tremendous advancements in how we can design and develop components for our future vehicles to make them lighter and more efficient.” Thanks to the software and advances in 3D printing, GM can produce unique designs which consolidate several different components and significantly reduce weight.

As a proof of concept, GM and Autodesk engineers created a seat bracket using the software. While this doesn’t sound too hard to design, the company notes the bracket created by the software was 40 percent lighter and 20 percent stronger than the original part. It also consolidated eight different components into a single 3D-printed part.

GM has made reducing weight a key priority and the company notes since 2016, they have launched 14 new vehicles which have an average weight savings of more than 350 lbs (158 kg). In particular, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado weighs up to 450 lbs (204 kg) less than the outgoing truck.

  • Dr Strangefingger

    Good for GM… but what took so long?

    • Moveon Libtards

      You do realize GM is way ahead of most competitors in mixed-materials science and manufacturing technology? They have been using this strategy for years and applying it to common models now while other makers only use it on top of the line sports car models or not at all.

      Time to move that perception/ bias out of the 80s….

    • brn

      or, what’s taking everyone else so long?

  • Moveon Libtards

    Meanwhile, Tesla keeps collapsing…

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    I don’t think seat brackets are GM’s problem.

  • Vassilis

    Very, very, very cool.

  • Toronado_II

    Cool for the mechanical design. But now, how you manufacture it ? By printing ? I doubt it because of the time of the process. How replace 8 simples sheetmetal parts by a complex and costly casting ? You get better on a side and get worse ont the other.

  • MarketAndChurch

    This is big. I know Ford is also big on 3d printing too, this could be the future to saving weight on parts/components.

  • SteersUright

    Awesome. Love where 3d printing is going!

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