Automated fibre placement was used to optimise the tow steering of carbon fibre reinforced plastic/polymer whereby the minimum defect-free steering radius (Rmin) achievable. The results revealed that in the case of the woven ply surface with unheated tool the Rmin, using 1/4 inch tows, is found to be 1350 mm. For the bare tool surface, the tool temperature had to be raised to 30 in order to achieve the same Rmin of 1350 mm. To attain a seamless transition from part design to manufacture using CAD, automated fibre placement was equipped with software tools (TruPLAN and TruFIBER). From the results of software validation and steering trials on a variable radius tool having a pre-laid UD ply, it is found that the ability to steer around a tighter radius was a vast asset of the 1/8 inch tow over the 1/4 inch one, which makes it the preferred choice for the more geometrically complex parts.