INDYCAR Takes Autodesk’s 3D Software for a Spin

In late November 2012, at the time of the Autodesk University 2012 conference, Autodesk, the leader in cloud-based design and engineering software, and INDYCAR, the auto racing sanctioning body behind popular racing events such as the Indianapolis 500have signed a three-year technology partnership. INDYCAR already employs Autodesk’s desktop-based software within its operations for a variety of important functions. For example, the organization uses AutoCAD software to create detailed garage layouts before each event, which helps improve the logistics of load-in and load-out at venues.

In addition, the detailed drawings that are used for sled crash tests—which play a critical role in improving driver safety—are prepared with AutoCAD. The partnership will now provide broad access to Autodesk’s software offerings, including Autodesk Product Design Suite, Autodesk Simulation 360, Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite, and Autodesk PLM 360, to IZOD IndyCar Series teams and drivers that compete in the fastest races series in the world.

Increased Role for Autodesk 3D Software

INDYCAR’s engineering and operations group will use Digital Prototyping applications such as Autodesk Inventor 3D CAD software to design and engineer product innovations for chassis designs, parts, and components. The group also plans to employ the cloud-based optimization power of Autodesk Simulation 360 to digitally simulate the performance impact of design changes before they are added to the race cars. This capability is hoped to better enable the organization to come up with aerodynamic specifications for components that all race teams can agree upon—reducing any advantages or disadvantages among teams and creating a more competitive racing environment.

Simulation is often a personal experience that depends on a domain expert. A simulation exercise that can be viewed by a group of experts provides the opportunity to examine the product in action and resolve any potential technical and functional issues. The earlier on in the development of a product one can have this collaborative, multidimensional, and multidisciplinary approach, the more likely that the finished product will do what it’s supposed to do—with no glitches.

Given that Autodesk is not as strong in manufacturing as it is in architecture and construction and in entertainment, this deal is handy in supporting the vendor's cred in that sector.
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