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March 7, 2019

The A.D.A.M project kicks off! Designing an automated yacht using AI design

FabCafe Global Editorial Team

In March 2019, FabCafe kicked off the FabCafe Creative Acceleration Workgroup, a community-based design workgroup.

As a launch project, FabCafe formed the workgroup named A.D.A.M. (‘Adam’). Working with the theme of AI design, A.D.A.M. will use a large-scale 3D printer to take on the challenge of designing of an automated yacht that is not confined to conventional designs.

Designing a state-of-the-art automated yacht using AI

A.D.A.M is a workgroup on the theme of design using AI (artificial intelligence). Comprising 5 to 10 members who work as product designers, engineers, etc., the workgroup uses generative design, a design technology that is currently at the forefront of AI design, to take on the challenge of designing an automated yacht. Generative design is a design method that obtains optimal structural solutions under given parameters.

Participants in the workgroup use generative design for practical projects. While learning, they designing an automated yacht and think about future AI design methods.

The project to be implemented in A.D.A.M. is the design, planning, and production of a Fisherdrone (provisional name). A Fisherdrone is an unmanned dinghy that can search for schools of fish and assist in catching them. Here, automated boat maneuvering technology developed by everblue technologies has been applied to the fishing industry.

* This is a concept design.

Supporting and updating the fishing industry, this unmanned yacht aims to help realize a sustainable society by converting renewable energy into hydrogen etc. and transporting an energy carrier. As the first step in demonstrating this new development, the plan is to use an automated yacht in the fishing industry to assist in areas such as searching for schools of fish and catching fish.

The yacht itself is not bound by the concept of conventional yachts, and is premised on the use of a 3D printer, which can manufacture complicated shapes in a short period of time. The aim is to establish a production method where materials can change depending on the part (multi-materials) and to achieve high-strength, lightweight construction through the use of generative design technology—the theme of the workgroup.

The workgroup has the cooperation of organizations such as Autodesk and ACT, which was involved with yacht design for the Americas Cup.

A new design method

In recent years, computer-based methods such as generative design, where the final form is designed after design elements and the task are defined, have started to be introduced, and research is being done into design methods that do not involve a designer.

Design methods using generative design and AI are currently aimed mainly at shaping optimization. These technologies are strongly oriented toward manufacturing, in terms of areas such as topology optimization, increased efficiency, and cost reduction. It can be assume that these design methods will also come to be used for the design of shape, size, and so forth in the future.

Moving forward, it is thought that the role of the product designer will shift from designing through the use of one’s hands to one of directing design that is carried out by AI. We can imagine that such direction will require methods unique to design using AI—for example, the kind of conditions that should be set or what kind of learning data will be provided.

* An example of generative design. The requirements are provided and the parts are generated. A substantial weight reduction has been achieved while maintaining the existing level of strength.

© 2019 Autodesk Inc. All rights reserved.
© 2019 WHILL Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About FabCafe Creative Acceleration Workgroup

The FabCafe Creative Acceleration Workgroup is a workgroup-type of community that co-creates on a specific subject. The purpose of the workgroup is not only to support the conventional kind of community activity that involves meeting new people and expanding one’s networks, but also to practically tackle specific projects working in a small group and sharing what is being learned, while actually outputting.

Design using an open innovation model with participants from different backgrounds such as professional design and engineering allows for the sharing of ideas and knowhow in a way that would not occur when a designer is working alone, and also enables the fusion of a higher level of ideas, mechanisms, and design.

How the workgroup operates

The workgroup has about 5 to 10 members including product designers and engineers. We are planning to start workgroups on the same theme in other FabCafes.

Workgroup meetings (conducted both offline and online) are held twice a month. Ideas and processes are shared and the design is done working either individually or as a team.

The purpose of the workgroup is not to have student–teacher relationships, but for all the participants to bring their knowledge and share it within the group in order to enhance everyone’s knowledge and skills. Participants basically participate as individuals.

Should there be any intellectual property or inventions arising from the activities of the workgroup, the initiator of such will be the owner of the rights. If there are multiple initiators, the sharing of rights will be discussed.

The content of workgroup activities will be open to public. However, if there are specific methods that participants feel should not yet be made public, these are kept private. In some instances, the entirety of the group’s activities may be kept private, depending on the content of the project being worked on.

A.D.A.M Project Owner

everblue technologies

Cooperating companies

Autodesk Generative design technology support

ACT Yacht design

formlabs 3D printing support



  • FabCafe Global Editorial Team

    This articles is edited by FabCafe Global.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
    Contact us

    This articles is edited by FabCafe Global.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
    Contact us

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