It’s been a year since the sharp rise of language-based models (such as Bard and ChatGPT) in everyday use. And since then, artificial intelligence (AI) has been a massive topic of conversation in many industries – especially so in engineering.
From designing new products to optimising manufacturing processes, AI is already having an incredible impact on the field of engineering and is helping engineers work more effectively and efficiently.
So, let’s dive into what AI actually is, the effect it is currently having on the field of engineering and the potential impact it could have in the near future…
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence refers to computer systems which can perform tasks that typically require human understanding and intelligence. The term encompasses a variety of different technologies and systems, such as machine learning, language processing and robotics.
AI systems are trained on large amounts of data and gain their ‘intelligence’ by learning to identify patterns – allowing them to make predictions and decisions about new data they receive.
For example, an AI system could be trained on a dataset of pictures of cats and dogs. The system would learn how to identify features which distinguish cats from dogs, such as the shape of their ears and the length of their fur. When the system is given a new picture, it can use its knowledge to identify what is in the picture provided.
AI is being used to design new products and systems much quicker and more efficiently than ever before.
For example, AI-powered design tools can help engineers generate and test thousands of different designs in a matter of hours, by analysing vast amounts of data on performance, efficiency and other factors.
This can help engineers to find the best possible design for their needs without having to spend weeks, months or even years on manual design work.
AI is being used to simulate the performance of engineered systems before they are built.
For instance, AI tools can be used to simulate the behaviour of a new aircraft design under different flight conditions – helping engineers identify any potential safety issues and make necessary changes to the design before testing and manufacturing.
This can help engineers identify potential pain points and make the necessary adjustments before the system is constructed.
AI is being used to help optimise manufacturing processes – finding the most cost-effective and efficient ways to allocate materials and processes.
For example, it can help manufacturers schedule production runs and allocate resources in the most optimal way to minimise downtime and maximise output.
In addition, it’s being used to develop new manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing, which can to create complex products with greater precision and accuracy than traditional manufacturing methods.
AI is being used to improve quality control in all stages of engineering, from design to manufacturing.
Advanced inspection systems which use AI can identify defects quicker and more accurately than human inspectors. This can help engineers avoid the unnecessary costs of unreliable designs and defective products.
Maintenance and risk management
By utilising enhanced pattern recognition, predictive maintenance tools are being vastly improved by AI’s machine learning capabilities.
These tools use data from sensors to identify potential problems with equipment before they occur, aiding manufacturers in avoiding costly downtime and equipment failures.
Additionally, by analysing historical and real-time data, AI algorithms can identify potential safety hazards and predict risks – providing engineers with the ability to take proactive measures to mitigate them and maintain a safe environment.
Here at Chell Instruments, we supply and manufacture pressure, vacuum and gas flow and control technology to a wide range of key industries where AI is having an increased impact…
What impact is AI having in F1?
AI is set to play an even greater role in the future of F1 and motorsport.
As their algorithms become more sophisticated and data collection methods expand, engineering teams are gaining deeper insights into their vehicle’s performance, race strategies and driver behaviour. This is predicted to lead to further advancements in car design, performance optimisation and race tactics.
How is AI affecting aerospace engineering?
In aerospace engineering, AI is transforming various aspects, from design and manufacturing, to flight operations and maintenance.
It’s also predicted to enhance the development of new technologies, such as hypersonic vehicles, reusable spacecraft and advanced space exploration systems.
AI will be an indispensable tool for engineers as they further push the boundaries of aerospace innovation.
AI’s impact on pharmaceuticals
AI is having an incredible impact on the advancement of the pharmaceutical industry, improving a wide range of aspects of drug discovery, development and manufacturing.
The ability to analyse vast amounts of data, identify patterns and make predictions is enabling researchers and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug discovery, optimise development, personalise medicine and improve manufacturing processes – all leading to more effective, safer and tailored treatments.
The future of AI in Engineering
AI is still in its early years of development – the well-known tool ChatGPT is only a year old this month – but it contains the potential to completely revolutionise the field of engineering.
As it continues to develop, we can expect to see even greater innovations and applications for AI across all areas of engineering – and even across all aspects of life.
For example, AI could be used to develop new self-healing materials that can repair themselves when they are damaged, new manufacturing processes that are more efficient and environmentally friendly and new products and systems that are more intelligent and adaptable than anything we have today.
Overall, the progression of AI is going to greatly approve everything we do in engineering. The collaboration between humans and these systems will become increasingly important, as engineers work alongside AI to leverage its capabilities and drive innovation and solve complex challenges.
As a leading manufacturer and supplier of quality pressure, vacuum and gas flow and control instruments, we’re excited to see what innovations AI brings in 2024 and beyond.