Last week Autodesk launched their 2010 software product line via webcast, a move touted as fiscally and environmentally responsible, with technology touted as the solution to these trying and uncertain times. The new capabilities that will available in the late March timeframe have been designed to give customers an increase in productivity, creativity and performance.
Autodesk has added new conceptual design capabilities in Revit, and new capabilities for free-form 3D design in AutoCad. Increased interoperability between Revit and 3D Studio Max, and Maya and Revit, streamline work and enable new customer workflows. Greater analysis tools have been added with Revit now incorporating heating, cooling and weather data for building performance, and Autodesk Map has a capability to compare FDO data for better decision support.
Autodesk focused on many customer requests to drive updates to AutoCAD. They improved the abilities to create design documentation, have made hatching geometry easier, have allowed for easier design sharing, and have integrated 3D PDF into the workflow. The new automation environment allows the design of custom toolbars and workflows to simplify tasks and empower less experienced workers.
A number of Autodesk Inventor features have been added to AutoCAD, including parametric modeling with geometric constraints that gives users control over the rules that get applied, and in what order. By adding a lot of intelligence to the model the work becomes more automated with less manual work and less room for mistakes.
Autodesk’s continued focus on sustainable design brings the capabilities of recent acquisitions, Ecotect and Green Building Studio to their users. These tools focus on building efficiency for heating, cooling and lighting. An increasing number of government mandates, including California’s net zero energy mandates and the Energy Independence and Security Act, mean that these capabilities are needed and can contribute in the short term.
With the 2010 release, Revit contains native heating and cooling analysis, that allow designers to explore more what if scenarios early in the design process to ensure maximum building efficiency. One example is the ability for designers to change window glazing parameters and to see immediately the energy change in a detailed report.
The global plans for infrastructure spending means that transportation professionals are facing a huge rise in work – along with increased material costs that place an emphasis on streamlined workflows to do more with less. The increased scrutiny on government projects also requires greater documentation.
To address these issues, Autodesk is helping transportation professionals connect to the process of BIM, adding greater intelligence and utility to the model throughout the lifecycle. The detailed model creation that connects infrastructure to water resources, buildings and other transportation networks means better documentation, quicker project approvals, and quicker project completion.
Bridges are another critical infrastructure component that Autodesk addresses with their new Bridge Extension. The 3D workflow for bridge modeling incorporates greater visualization to accurately display design intent and streamlines approvals.
Utilities and Infrastructure Modeling
For their utilities business, Autodesk has aligned Map 3D and Topobase to design, simulate, plan, build and maintain infrastructure in a workflow that they call infrastructure modeling. Productivity enhancements to these toolsets have created workflow efficiency increases on the order of 450 percent.
The need for more efficiency with utilities is a topic that is top of mind globally, with aging infrastructure that can’t accommodate intelligent grids, renewable energy and plug-in vehicles. Autodesk touted the success story of Las Vegas Valley Water in moving engineering data into their GIS and CAD workflow with their Topobase tools. This utility solved problems of collaboration between engineering and operations that saved them $500K per year.
Wrapping up the move toward more efficient building process is the concept of integrated project delivery, a new idea that Autodesk says will revolutionize how buildings are built. Integrated project delivery changes how collaboration and work process happen – and deals up front with the issues of liability. By harnessing a BIM workflow, the contractor, architect and engineers all work together for quicker and more efficient construction projects.
As you can see, Autodesk has focused their development emphasis to meet the more competitive and constrained global marketplace.