Orbital Stack Announces AI-features For CFD Tool Based on Decades of Wind Tunnel Data 

Orbital Stack is proud to announce that RWDI, an industry leading wind engineering firm, has partnered with AI and machine learning company Neural Concept to create AI-powered CFD for early-stage design guidance.

Orbital Stack is proud to announce that RWDI, an industry leading wind engineering firm, has partnered with AI and machine learning company Neural Concept to create AI-powered CFD based on decades of wind data for early-stage design guidance. This partnership is expanding the possibilities for designers around the world. It will create climate-conscious buildings using the power of instant, cutting-edge wind, solar and thermal comfort data.

Understanding at the outset how a proposed building will interact with its surroundings––specifically the structural integrity, wind effects on the building, sunlight exposure, and pedestrian comfort––saves time and cost in catching issues that may arise in later stages of the design process. However, the traditional tools that designers use to test wind performance, including wind-tunnel testing and traditional CFDs, can be slow, complicated, and expensive in the early stages of design—making them unsuitable for rapid iteration and too costly for smaller projects.

Our partnership with Neural Concept now gives Orbital Stack users the power of AI, providing powerful, multi-factor analysis that’s fast, affordable, and understandable. Clients now have the actionable insights and rapid feedback that they need to optimize outdoor comfort by managing airflow and sunlight.

How CFD Powered by AI Works

We developed CFD software for building designers that’s fast and affordable without a reduction in the quality of results. Partnering with an engineering intelligence firm, Neural Concept, helped us take the CFD experience from standard to industry changing.

To optimize the designer’s experience, Neural Concept uses machine learning. This method relies on huge datasets to “teach” the algorithm the relationships between inputs. The dataset—RWDI’s unmatched urban wind flow dataset—happens to be the largest in the world. This critical component validates the accuracy of the AI’s predictions

Working closely with our experts, and leveraging data from RWDI, Neural Concept developed a Deep-Learning model that reproduces CFD results. The model integrates within our existing web-app, providing users with AI-enabled instant feedback.

To enable designers to use Orbital Stack anywhere in the world, the algorithm needed to be able to predict any city with a realistic wind profile. Therefore, a robust pipeline was developed to accept user cities in the dataset and process them in a reliable way. The model is compatible with any innovations that the designers include for the city, in the shortest processing time possible. Once we process the city, the model makes predictions within seconds, relying on the most modern techniques available.

RWDI’s data from countless wind-tunnel tests allowed us to create a technology that unlocks a world of possibilities.

How Orbital Stack Improves a Designer’s Workflow

Presently, it is common for designers to wait 10 hours for each design iteration (building/surrounding change). With Neural Concept’s model within Orbital Stack’s CFD software, the iteration time is now only minutes. This allows for users to run multiple, iterative simulations. Additionally, they can select the optimal version of their project while limiting environmental impacts on the design.

By making design iterations available throughout the entire workflow, performance optimization and potential risks are visible earlier in the process. Markedly, this allows faster design cycles, providing on-demand, reliable airflow analysis. Lastly, it increases performance and sustainability of the final design, and the ability for designers to explore limitless possibilities. After design optimization, wind-tunnel analysis occurs without unexpected surprises, to validate the AI-found predictions or to meet regulatory requirements.

The best part about Orbital Stack? The more you use the tool, the better the AI-predictions become. The algorithm will “ingest” more diverse and complete city climate data, thus better learning the physics behind pedestrian comfort. Through this incredible partnership, Orbital Stack and our CFD software can do the complex work of stitching together integrated wind and thermal comfort results that are easy to understand, a first of its kind. The result is a truly ground-breaking advancement. In the field of climate analysis, this will have a lasting impact on the resiliency of future developments worldwide.

About Neural Concept

Neural Concept creates AI Deep Learning algorithms for enhanced engineering. By speeding up R&D cycles, augmenting product performance, and solving their next engineering challenges, we revolutionize how our 80+ customers design their products. The company was founded in 2018 in a top-notch AI research lab at EPFL in Switzerland. We are a team of 30+ members fully committed to our vision, which is to revolutionize the future of industrial engineering with intelligence. 

About RWDI

RWDI is a global leader in climate engineering and consulting. With capabilities in corporate sustainability, sustainable buildings, climate change consulting, and environmental engineering. They utilize their deep technical expertise to support their clients’ ambitious sustainability goals and have collaborated with design teams on significant projects around the world. RWDI helps thousands of projects through their portfolio of environmental consulting services including microclimate and pedestrian-level wind testing, noise, acoustics and vibration studies, enclosure studies, and wind studies.