BMW announced yesterday an investment in a start-up aimed at streamlining development processes: ELISE. Through the BMW i Ventures investment arm, the BMW Group is now a part of the company, which has been developing generative engineering software aimed at automating the product development process.

ELISE is a deep-tech startup and is planning on using the funds raised recently to speed up product development and market entry. “ELISE enables engineers to automate multiple time-consuming steps of the product design process,” said Tobias Jahn, principal at BMW i Ventures.  “We observed high efficiency gains during the initial usage at the BMW Group and are convinced that such achievements are also possible at scale throughout the rest of the organization.”

In an exclusive beta phase with leading OEMs and Tier1s from the automotive and aerospace industry such as BMW, MAN, Ariane Group and Brose, ELISE has validated its software over the past 12 months and demonstrated huge value-add, saving engineers up to 90% of time in designing products. ELISE aims to fundamentally change the process of how parts are designed. Today engineers usually start their product design journey on paper, imagining what a product could look like in the end.

However, advances in additive manufacturing not only allow for many more degrees of freedom, but also for the development of entirely new shapes and structures.

“After several years of research and development, we have shown our proprietary software to selected partners for the first time and are overwhelmed by their feedback,” co-founder Daniel Siegel says.

ELISE starts by collecting the requirements of parts, such as its load cases, size, costs etc. and subsequently helps a designer shape a product matching the ascribed parameters.

ELISE also allows the engineer to include requirements from various other stakeholders, thereby eliminating lengthy feedback loops that stretch product development timelines. The company was founded in 2018 as a spin-off from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, a renowned German research center. It has been backed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany and the European Social Fund as part of the EXIST programs.