**Automotive Design**

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Computer-aided design (CAD) has completely changed the way in which car companies design and manufacture cars. Before the 1980s automotive engineers would build a full-scale “nuts and bolts” model of a proposed new car; this was really the only way to tell whether the design was feasible. Today automotive engineers build a mathematical model, one that exists only in the memory of a computer. The model incorporates all the main design features of the car. Certain polynomial curves, called splines, are used in shaping the body of the car. The resulting “mathematical car” can be tested for structural stability, handling, aerodynamics, suspension response, and more. All this testing is done before a prototype is built. As you can imagine, CAD saves car manufacturers millions of dollars each year. More importantly, CAD gives automotive engineers far more flexibility in design; desired changes can be created and tested within seconds. With the help of computer graphics, designers can see how good the “mathematical car” looks before they build the real one. Moreover, the mathematical car can be viewed from any perspective; it can be moved, rotated, or seen from the inside. These manipulations of the car on the computer monitor translate mathematically into solving large systems of linear equations.