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Publication Name: Financialexpress
Date: May 09, 2024

Gen AI: Catalysing Innovation in Product Design at Tata Elxsi

Gen AI: Catalysing Innovation in Product Design at Tata Elxsi

Currently, for quick concept visualization, inspiring out-of-the-brain thinking, creating fresh content, and impactful pitches, Gen AI is the go-to tool that is being extensively made use of.

As Tata Elxsi continues to redefine the landscape of product design, their innovative integration of Gen AI heralds a new era of efficiency and creativity.

Renowned globally for delivering cutting-edge design solutions across diverse industries, Tata Elxsi’s Chief Designer, Shyam Sunder B K, says “By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, the company is propelling product design forward, revolutionizing workflows from conceptualization to realization.”

About the company’s strategic integration of Generative AI for product design, according to him, “the entire product design workflow is redefined with Gen AI tools where significant improvements in the workflow, ranging from initial concept generation to final refinement and visualization.”

Fast Tracking Product Design with Gen AI

Further, with the integration of Generative AI, several processes within the Fastrack approach have become enhanced. ‘Fastrack’ is the new buzzword across industries, where the entire process is crafted to happen faster, thanks to Gen AI. “One notable aspect is the speed and efficiency with which designers can iterate on concepts with the help of Gen AI to suggest unique design inspirations and solutions at a rapid pace. Designers can explore countless product variations quickly, allowing for clarity and faster experimentation,” he further explains.

Gen AI enables designers to think differently and connect the dots in a non-linear manner. This means they can explore alternative design directions and discover innovative solutions more efficiently than traditional methods. By leveraging AI-generated insights and reducing reliance on iterative feedback loops, the Fastrack product design process becomes more agile and responsive to the changing market demands and requirements.

Adding to this, he says, “Gen AI tools assist designers in visualizing immersive product scenarios, experimenting with colour-material-finish (CMF) combinations, and creating realistic concept designs. Through Gen AI’s involvement in facilitating a Fastrack approach to product design, designers can now bring products to market at a faster pace without compromising on creativity and innovation.”

Another way that Gen AI has fast tracked the product design process is by enhancing communication and collaboration among team members. “As AI-driven tools enable quick generation and presentation of ideas, collaboration becomes enhanced and decision-making processes are sped up. Additionally, AI-driven insights help identify emerging trends and anticipate customer preferences with accuracy, which makes it easier for designers to make data-informed decisions, bringing about a shift to efficient and data-accurate efforts,” Sundar suggests.

Redefining Product Design with Gen AI from Creator-Centric to Curator-Centric

According to him, “the future of product design is shifting from a creator-centric model to a curator-centric model, through the integration of Gen AI across operational processes. In a creator-centric model, designers are primarily responsible for generating ideas, concepts, and designs based on their expertise and intuition. However, with the emergence of tools Gen AI, designers are increasingly becoming curators of AI-generated insights and solutions.

In a curator-centric model, designers collaborate with AI systems to guide and shape the creative process by leveraging AI-generated suggestions and insights. This collaborative approach allows designers to explore new possibilities and experiment with unconventional ideas. Thus, instead of solely relying on their expertise and intuition, designers become inspired to leverage AI technologies to enhance their creative abilities and make better-informed design decisions, becoming strategic curators of AI-generated insights.

Value, Agility & First time right (FTR) are the parameters that determine the success of the design process. Hence in addition to human creativity and knowledge base, new technologies play a major role in elevating the definition of development. Gen AI is one such strong tool that can connect various aspects not limited to generating a set of ideas or concepts, but also synthesizing these ideas and realizing them by taking them through levels of value enhancement, quick refinements, implementation support exponentially fast tracking the cycle. Intelligent tools from various levels must collaborate in order to efficiently implement them for a seamless experience and deliver FTR solutions.”

Gen AI for Innovation: Streamlining Product Design

Furthermore, Tata Elxsi has effectively utilised Gen AI to streamline its product design process to increase efficiency and innovation. “For example, we utilised Gen AI in various stages of the design process of a water heater, which helped maximise workflow and enhance creativity. Initially, we incorporated Gen AI to understand the design brief and extract relevant visual inspirations through mood boards. Following this, we set the initial design approach and concept through prompt structuring, combining technical requirements with creative aspirations.

As the design process progressed, we tweaked the AI prompts through strategic word selection, leveraging tools like Midjourney and Vizcom to explore unique aesthetic treatments and experiment with CMFs. These repeated interactions with Gen AI allowed us to explore diverse innovative design expressions while aligning with the project objectives.”

Explaining further, he adds that in the final stages of design, the team took insights from AI-generated concepts to practical, manufacturer designs, keeping in mind the requirements of the form, proportion, and feasibility. What’s more, detailed 3D CAD visualizations brought these refined concepts to life. “Thus, we were able to facilitate valuable collaboration between our designers and AI-driven tools, which in turn helped us creatively while speeding up the process of content generation,” he elaborates.

Gen AI Tools Enabling Tomorrow’s World Today

Speaking of the future, Sundar believes in a future where AI-driven user interfaces adapt and evolve based on user interactions and machine learning algorithms. This brings about a seamless integration of human intuition with AI capabilities, resulting in customization and responsive product controls that enhance user experiences. As AI technologies enable rapid data processing, which helps optimize design solutions with objectivity, designers now have enough resources to enhance their creativity and problem-solving.

“Currently, for quick concept visualization, inspiring out-of-the-brain thinking, creating fresh content, and impactful pitches, Gen AI is the go-to tool that is being extensively made use of. Overall, the dependence between human creativity and AI technologies becomes essential to push the boundaries of innovation and shape the future of design,” he aspires for the future.