One of the first CAD programs was developed in the early 1960s by Ivan Sutherland in his MIT thesis: "Sketchpad". Sketchpad and other early CAD programs were mainly used as a tool to aid in 2D drafting.
The first commercially available program cost $500,000 retail and used a light pen for input. Owch!
It wasn't until the 1970s that research about curve geometry and geometry computation in France and wireframes allowed for the development of 3D CAD. The first 3D modeling program sold commercially, SythaVision, was released in 1972 by MAGI. It was used for analysis of nuclear radiation exposure. It was an intensive computer process that wasn't yet efficient enough for practical use, but they were becoming more user-friendly. Later CAD programs were made with parametric engines. This allowed for the use of dimensions to be applied to the models to modify their design. From drafting to digital, from 2D to 3D. CAD programs started as 2D drafting tool and now have opened a world of possibilities.
CAD Software Today
Today 3D CAD programs are used as a tool for drafting and product design. 3D CAD adds more precision and speed to the processes behind product development. This is necessary in today's consumerism society where companies need to mass produce their products in order to remain relevant. Currently there are numerous vendors of CAD programs. This makes the marketplace diverse and competitive for customers and companies.
Every company wants to distinguish themselves from one another, this can be difficult because of the number of vendor out there. Many CAD programs allow for the products designed in them to be tested. The types of tests vary depending on the product. A few examples of tests that can be runto simulationsof stress, aging, high speeds, harsh weather, violent impacts, and estimate how the product will hold up. This allows prototypes to be made more proficiently and stop many design problems before they happen. This saves the company time and money through a more streamlined development process.
What about Tomorrow?
More people are using 4D CAD. 4D CAD isn't a crazy space age tech or even a new concept. 4D CAD is 3D CAD with time added as a factor. Suprisingly, Disney was using 4D CAD as early as the 1990s to build models of and projections of the progress of rides and their parks.
The increased shift from 3D CAD to 4D CAD will cause more growth potential for the CAD market all over the world in the upcoming years. Some of the major factors responsible for change to towards the 4D evironment between the vendors are:
The want of product differentiation
The need to incorporate additional functionality
Improvement of the customer experience
As a result, these vendors are coming up with 4D CAD solutions to improve the constructabiliy and sequencing of construction schedules using granular level information.