Autodesk Shores Up BIM Offerings

16 Jan, 2014 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

Autodesk University 2013, part 3: Company highlights acquisitions, other efforts to bridge gaps in building and civil engineering workflows.

Autodesk Structural Bridge Design for span bridges. For bridge designers and engineers, Autodesk has launched Autodesk Structural Bridge Design. Resulting from the August 2013 acquisition of technology assets from U.K.–based Bestech Systems, the new software joins the Autodesk BIM for infrastructure portfolio. For small- to medium-span bridge design processes, it integrates loading, analysis, and code checking in a single environment.

Autodesk Structural Bridge Design 2014 conducts loading, analysis, and code checking in a single environment. Shown here is an example using Eurocode Grillage 3D elements. Click image to enlarge.

Azalient Technology acquisition for traffic simulation. Autodesk announced the acquisition of technology assets from U.K.–based Azalient Ltd. The acquisition helps support the evolution to BIM-based design workflows among traffic engineers and transportation planners working on roads, highways, and railway projects, the company reported. The acquired traffic analysis simulates how people travel — whether by automobiles, buses, or trains — in isolation and in series and provides tools to help predict demand for new infrastructure projects, forecast how to handle future demand, and predict traffic disruptions caused during construction, with the addition of cost and benefit analysis of alternative infrastructure designs. The software drives planning and is an example of Autodesk’s efforts to enable design in context, Hanspal pointed out.

Topcon collaboration for field layout and construction. Building existing collaboration, Autodesk and Topcon Positioning Group, a developer of precision location and elevation measurement technologies, are now working to further improve the integration of BIM workflows and field layout for general contractors and MEP trades. Autodesk is developing a new BIM 360 mobile app for iPad that further simplifies the process of precisely locating BIM coordinates on a construction site. The app controls a robotic total station — as well as the new Topcon LN-100 3D positioning system — that can accurately position control and layout points on the construction site, then as-built data can be fed back to the design model via BIM 360 for quality assurance.

These announcements follow numerous other major investments Autodesk has made in recent months to expand BIM for infrastructure and construction. In infrastructure, Autodesk recently launched Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Pro, Autodesk Roadway Design for InfraWorks 360 Pro, and Autodesk Vehicle Tracking (based on the acquisition of technology assets from Savoy Computing). In construction, Autodesk BIM 360, a suite of cloud-based mobile-accessible tools for preconstruction coordination through field execution, has seen dramatic uptake in the past year. Autodesk adds about 50 new users per day for BIM 360 with approximately 15,000 monthly active users, up 65% year-over-year, the company reported. Adoption of Autodesk ReCap reality-capture tools grew from 8,000 to more than 21,000 users in just two months, Hanspal said.

Near the conclusion of the AEC media luncheon, a reporter asked Hanspal, “What about AutoCAD Civil 3D?” — given that the popular tool hadn’t been mentioned during the event. Hanspal noted that Civil 3D integrates with the Autodesk InfraWorks, where InfraWorks supports planning and Civil 3D serves as the design tool, adding, “Civil 3D continues to evolve,” driven largely by 3D enhancements made to AutoCAD as well as user-requested enhancements.

See Cadalyst's recap of new software and hardware technologies showcased in the Autodesk University 2013 exhibit hall. Recordings of Autodesk University classes and other resources are now available free online to users who register.

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