This SGER GOALI project aims to improve the practice of design optimization by developing accurate analytical models of consumer demand for new product designs. The exploratory activity will address the feasibility of using an existing market research based method of conjoint analysis to develop consumer preference models that can be integrated into design optimization. The risk is whether such models can be extended into the engineering domain for anything but the most simple modeling. Complex product design requires the creation of estimation algorithms that can be validated. This will only be feasible if the estimation time can be reduced while the number of attributes being modeled is increased. It is highly questionable if a robust method can be developed, thus satisfying the high-risk component necessary for an SGER.
The broader impacts come from the high potential of attaining improvements in design optimization of consumer products such as automobiles and computers. If this methodology proves feasible, it opens up new research avenues where improvements to the product relative to customer needs can be met, while the validation methodology for predictive product realization can also be advanced.
This SGER is a GOALI project with GM as a direct partner, through both intellectual participation and funding. GM will bring expertise in Bayesian estimation methods of consumer preference modeling as well as data for validation purposes for this exploratory research