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Autodesk Accelerate 2022: Global industry leaders dive in on manufacturing’s digital transformation

Last week I traveled to New Orleans to explore the convergence of design and manufacturing with a group of inspiring Autodesk customers at Accelerate, our product development conference.

I was personally excited to be back at an in-person event and connect with business leaders who are using our tools to reimagine how they design, fabricate, innovate and collaborate.

The BAC Mono supercar

Briggs Automotive Group (BAC) brought the BAC Mono, its flagship supercar, to Autodesk Accelerate.

One of the most compelling sessions of the event was led by Neill Briggs, founder of Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), manufacturer of a sleek, street-legal supercar–the BAC Mono. Neill’s talk focused on the Liverpool-based company’s passion for performance, role as a pioneer of ultra-light-weighting, and relationship with green technology partner, Viritech, which develops hydrogen powertrain technologies. The companies released the results of a unique e-Mono hydrogen powertrain concept feasibility study. This is a big step toward BAC’s goal of developing a zero-emissions supercar.

An original BAC Mono was showcased in the networking area of the conference – it’s a showstopping vehicle unmistakably designed to achieve speed, lightness, and performance using a low center of gravity and generatively designed parts. I look forward to seeing their new vehicle blaze track records and elevate industry standards.

Kim Dabbs, Global VP of Social Innovation at office furniture maker Steelcase, delivered a keynote highlighting how the company is leveraging new technologies to achieve its digital transformation goals. As a 100-year-old business known for its sleek office furnishings that facilitate better collaboration and a more productive work environment, Steelcase is focused on designing flexible, inclusive spaces to foster employee buy-in as workforces return to the office.

Autodesk Accelerate's analyst panel

Analysts Monica Schnitger, Allan Behrens, Stan Przybylinski, Michelle Boucher, and Chad Jackson led a discussion on how companies can understand, implement, and achieve digital transformation.

Tim Shinbara, CTO of The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), discussed how he helped AMT undergo its own digital transformation efforts. Having long operated on legacy software that couldn’t keep pace with the organization’s new SaaS-like approach, Tim shared fantastic examples of how to transition toward digital processes, secure stakeholder buy-in, and measure success via realistic metrics.

Several Autodesk customers, including Forge Nano, Starline Windows, and VisiConsult, shared how they’re navigating digital transformation to better position themselves for the post-pandemic future. Despite operating in vastly different sectors, ranging from x-ray and computer tomography services to autonomous vehicles, these businesses are looking to leverage intelligent automation to overcome the skills gap and continue to innovate.

The EDAG CityBot

EDAG Group is one of the world’s largest independent development partners to the automotive and aviation industries. They have over 50 years’ experience in vehicle, production plant and electrics/electronics development.

One of my favorite moments was a presentation from EDAG Group. The Swiss automaker is developing a holistic mobility concept called EDAG CityBot. Due to its modularity and multi-functionality, CityBots can operate around the clock and, according to requirements, configure as a passenger cell, cargo carrier, city cleaning device, and many other usages by fitting add-on modules.

EDAG Group is involved in all phases of automotive product development and was looking for a step-change to reduce development time. Sebastian Fluegel, Project Leader of Innovations, shared how the EDAG team leveraged Fusion 360 to streamline the product development process via automation – reducing design iterations and development costs.

Who knows, we might see CityBots cruising down the French Quarter in the not-so-distant future!

I’m thankful for my time at Accelerate – especially for the chance to connect with longtime friends face-to-face and to have made many new ones. I’ve already marked my calendar for our return to the Crescent City in September for Autodesk University.