Computers can write poetry, even if they can’t necessarily write good poetry. The same can be said of routing PC boards. Computers can do it, but can they do it well? Of course, there are multiple tools each with pluses and minuses. However, a slick web page recently announced deeppcb.ai — a cloud-based AI router — and although details are sparse, there are a few interesting things about the product.
First, it supports KiCAD. You provide a DSN file, and within 24 hours you get a routed SES file. Maybe. You get three or four free boards –apparently each week — after which there is some undisclosed fee. Should you just want to try it out, create an account (which is quick and free — just verify your e-mail and create a password). Then in the “Your Boards” section there are a few examples already worked out.
We haven’t tried the service yet, but reading notes from people who have doesn’t give us a great feeling. Apparently, the router only wants two-layer boards with a limited number of wires, for the free version at least. One user reported they used up all three boards and only got error results back.
The real question is do we need AI routing? If you have parts well placed, routing isn’t that hard and there are other autorouters that can do a great job. Of course, many people won’t want to trust their designs to a cloud service. However, the technology could be interesting, especially if it could move things around and work towards different goals (e.g., low noise, minimum size, etc.).
We couldn’t see a picture of an example PCB from the system, so our header image comes from a different source. c-g. [CC BY 2.0]