Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, April 22, 2021

Building a Better Hog 

<img style="float: left;" src="http://media2.hpcwire.com/dmr/800px-Harley-davidson.JPG" alt="" width="95" height="57" />Harley-Davidson is using both the film and gaming industries to help speed up their design time. By repurposing the GPUs that both industries rely on to power Harley-Davidson's design process, the motorcycle company has shaved months off of their design process.

When associating Harley-Davidson with the film industry, one thing comes to mind: “Easy Rider.” The classic road tale of bikers traveling across America remains to this day a landmark film. But this won't be the last time that the entertainment industry gives back to the motorcycle manufacturing giant.

Now, Harley-Davidson is using both the film and gaming industries to help speed up their design time, so those who were “born to be wild” can get their motor running and head out on the highway even sooner.

By repurposing the GPUs that both industries rely on to power Harley-Davidson's design process, the motorcycle company has shaved months off of their design process, to the point where they can create design concepts in hours or minutes, not days or weeks, significantly increasing the amount of motorcycles the company can build in a given space.

But GPUs aren't the only technology powering the new prototyping process.

Using 3D modeling and printing tools instead of the traditional means of sketches or clay designs, Harley-Davidson is now free to eschew those cumbersome, time-consuming methods to create prototypes in under 24 hours. Some of these new tools that make life at Harley-Davidson easier include a host of Autodesk applications, including 3D Studio Max, Maya, Mudbox, and Alias.

“It used to take four people on our team a few months to develop a new bike design. Now, two people can design a full motorcycle in two weeks,” Matthew Gueller, a senior industrial designer for Harley-Davidson, said at the GPU Technology Conference.

Harley-Davidson has been able to take advantage of the 3D printing phenomenon by utilizing workstations powered by NVIDIA’s Quadro and Tesla GPUs, both of which are straight out of the gaming and entertainment industry.

The modeling Harley-Davidson is doing with these programs is a “paradigm shift that’s a game changer,” according to Gueller.

Now, Gueller and his team can create a component model in five to 10 minutes and have a prototype from the 3D printing team in the morning. In the horse and carriage days it would take four to five days to get a working prototype.

Full story at NVIDIA

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