Following the earlier success of Volvo’s Concept Universe at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2011, the Volvo design team was under extreme pressure to further refine its ideas and produce a working model with full interior in a matter of months, in time for Frankfurt. Both concepts were created to demonstrate Volvo’s vision for the future of luxury cars under its new ownership.
Using Autodesk Alias software, the concept modelling team was able to quickly create digital prototypes from the designer’s initial sketches. This enabled the team to quickly hone and test the design on screen, helping to save time and maintain the original design integrity behind the concept. As a result, designers were able to get to the best option with the technical surfacing and visualisation of the car as quickly as possible without having to start from scratch with every iteration.
Although the Volvo team was working under a particularly tight deadline, timescales such as this are becoming typical in such a competitive industry. Cars are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated with a high technical content, yet manufacturers are under pressure to design them faster, while incurring lower costs. Like Volvo, a growing number of manufacturers are using Autodesk Alias to accelerate the entire design process from concept to class A modelling.
As part of the design workflow, Volvo also used Autodesk Showcase software for advanced visualisation of its ideas. This enabled the concept to be quickly communicated to the design management team and board so that they could easily understand what was being created. Despite the punishing time-frame, Volvo’s new concept was ready in time to create a real talking point at the show. The automotive press was full of accolades, describing the car as, “beautifully done”, “a much-needed tonic” and simply “stunning”.
A long-term user of Autodesk software, Volvo has recently become a Platinum Support customer which gives it direct access to Autodesk experts, promoting a two-way dialogue to help influence future development of Alias and other products.
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