BMW enthusiasts know Frank Stephenson was involved in the design work for the original X5 (E53) and the first-generation modern MINI. However, his CV also includes other important cars, such as the Ford Escort RS Cosworth and the McLaren P1, along with several Ferraris and Maseratis like the F430 and MC12. Let’s just say he is more than qualified to talk about car design, so it’s always interesting to hear what he has to say about new models.
In his latest video, the 63-year-old designer doesn’t talk about a specific vehicle, but rather about how artificial intelligence will change the methods automakers use when designing new cars. Stephenson believes AI will have benefits on the development side by speeding up the process. On the other hand, it could prompt companies to cut back on the number of designers.
The Casablanca-born designer does point out one major limitation text-to-image generators like Midjourney and DALL-E have. This type of software can only create renderings based on existing images stored in a massive database, so the outcome is never something truly original. Consequently, a new company that doesn’t have a history in designing cars won’t be able to use AI to draw a new model since the software lacks the necessary imagery of past models.
Stephenson didn’t miss the opportunity to take a jab at BMW and its controversial grille design. He argues the Bavarian brand should’ve used AI to shape its latest take on the kidney grille. The designer goes as far as to input “a BMW grille that isn’t hideous” in the text-to-image generator.
The Moroccan designer believes AI will make the car design process more efficient but it won’t be able to match the creativity of a human. Artificial intelligence will serve as a tool to help professionals perfect a design, and with the advancements made in 3D printing, the future is shaping up to be quite interesting.
The video ends with a surprising disclosure made by Stephenson – most of the script was written by ChatGPT. Whenever a white rectangle appears in the video, it means that part of the script was written by software. That’s a bit scary…
Source: Frank Stephenson / YouTube