Automotive vehicle body structure design is a long and complex design process. It involves iterations of design modifications, analysis, validation, and confirmation. It is time consuming and costly. In order to bring better and more affordable vehicles to the consumers, the auto-industry is seeking ways to reduce the vehicle cycle time and, at the same time, improve vehicle quality. One approach is to maximize the reuse of the engineering knowledge and make smart engineering decisions early. To assist engineers making decisions in the early design cycle, a Ford team has been working on the development of an intelligent vehicle Product Engineering Decision Support System called PEDSS. PEDSS is a knowledge based design tool that performs trade-off studies among various performance requirements, design specifications, package and manufacturing constraints, serviceability, and cost. It is developed using JAVA, JESS — a Java AI shell, and CORBA. It has been integrated with the company’s CAD system: IDEAS and applied to a small vehicle segment platform design.

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