Autodesk University - Better starts here

Under the title "Better starts here", the traditional annual conference "Autodesk University 2019" was held in Las Vegas, USA last week. This year's event attracted a record 12,000 participants from around the world, which is reportedly the maximum even for the giant Venetian Hotel. The very extent of the conference, hundreds of specialized seminars and various community meetings - even the planning, catering and navigation for such a large number of participants is certainly a demanding logistics operation.

The main topics of this year's AU 2019 conference were data interconnection, data as the basis of all processes, automation and ways to design and create better products, buildings or entertainment projects - faster, cheaper, with less material, less energy and less environmental impact. Continuous education is an essential condition for creating better projects - according to current studies, technical knowledge has a half-life of only 4.5 years.

The trend of automation can be seen best in the generative design technology (GD). Already in 2015, Airbus saved 45% of the weight of the cabin partition thanks to this technology. Now it uses GD for a much more important part of the aircraft - the wing design. Or for optimizing the layout of its new assembly hall in Hamburg. Generative design tools in Autodesk Fusion 360 have also helped to lighten the iconic VW Bus in its electric remake version. The same building technology helps to design the layouts of buildings or development projects - see Project Refinery and the existing visual tool Dynamo.

Especially in the construction sector there is another trend to save costs and, especially (also in the USA) the increasingly scarce workforce of construction workers - the use of manufacturing processes. An example is Skystone and its construction (production?) of the highest modular hotel for the Marriott hotel chain. Thanks to the factory production of complete hotel room modules (including equipment), the hotel construction in the confined space of New York Street has been simplified to a simple assembly, free of dust and noise, with a minimum number of workers and lower costs. Will the future construction sites be transformed into Lego-like production plants?

Autodesk announced its partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One, the company developing a new type of vehicle with a promise of cruising speeds of over 1000 km/h. The development of this vehicle and its infrastructure requires cooperative design and BIM construction tools.

New capabilities are offered by the Autodesk Forge, developer platform, including its ability to programmatically (Forge API) control a virtual AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, or 3ds Max in the cloud. This makes design and configuration automation even easier and more affordable.

But at the conference, you may come across other attractions - for example, quite surprisingly, you can find here a booth for live dogs (to pet), but you can also find artificial ones...

For example, this is how the Boston Dynamics scanning "dog" obeyed at the Autodesk Blogger Party:

An important part of the Autodesk University is collecting suggestions from participants - users of Autodesk products. We are glad that we were able to convey also some input from Czech users.

Recording of the opening keynote of the AU 2019


One of the first news announced at the AU 2019 is collaboration of Autodesk with ANSYS and direct integration of Autodesk Fusion 360 models into the ANSYS Mechanical simulation tool, and thus the extension of FEA methods in Fusion 360.

Fusion 360 is also involved in another exciting news - the offer to try the generative design for free - till the end of the year. Use the Fusion 360 Trial version, the free Personal or Startup version, or your Product Design & Manufacturing Collection license to experience "Generative Design" yourself. See Free Generative Design.

Fast development of Fusion 360 does not stop - it will soon include complete electronics design features, including PCBs, internal lattice grid creation for 3D printing, a number of new CAM control functions for CNC machines, improved generative design, substantially improved 3D mesh model conversion to solid models, pricing estimator by the aPriori module and other (see about the time 44:00 in the keynote below).

But Autodesk Inventor is not left behind either. After the new version 2020.2 we are awaiting other announced interesting new features of this application - e.g. the dark environment, pallete optimization, etc. For the first time, Autodesk shows a public "roadmap" of further development of this application, which has celebrated 20 years of development - see the public roadmap.

Also Autodesk Vault PDM users will soon see exciting new features, including the shape-duplicates search function.

Recording of the manufacturing keynote


Interconnection, common, shared data between professions and throughout the full lifetime of the building - this is the foundation of news in construction and AEC.

The main innovation introduced here is the Autodesk Construction Cloud™ - a common data platform combining software tools, the network of designers and builders, collaboration tools, and advanced data analysis tools. The Construction Cloud is based on the BIM 360 CDE platform, PlanGrid, Assemble, BuildingConnected and other tools for design (BIM, team cooperation), planning (coordination, bidding), construction (administration, handover, quality) and operation (asset management) of buildings. More at

During the AU 2019, Autodesk has introduced an update to the most popular BIM application - Autodesk Revit 2020.2.

Many interesting examples of BIM design automation were built on Refinery, a tool for generative design in construction projects.

Unity company introduced Reflect, Revit's add-on for easy creation of virtual and augmented reality - AR and VR from BIM projects in Autodesk Revit.

Two years before the devastating fire, Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral was accidentally scanned using Autodesk ReCap into a detailed 3D point cloud. Today it is a key source of data for the BIM model creation and reconstruction of this historic building.

Recording of the AEC keynote

AU Exhibition

An interesting part of each AU is the accompanying exhibition where partners and sponsors of the conference present their complementary products. Here are some of the interesting exhibits.

This "little 3D printer" prints objects made of durable and solid concrete. Maybe urban furniture or a house.

Do you use any Autodesk design software? This model of a light construction and the two models of imaginary devices you may have seen somewhere...

At the exhibition you could see a complete Fusion 360-based production line - from milling machines and lathes to various 3D printing methods from Fusion 360 models.

You could also see the electric VW Bus enhanced with Generative Design components.

Virgin Hyperloop One exhibited a prototype "pad" - a vehicle for Hyperloop.

The Boston Dynamics "dog" has a practical use for 3D scanning of hard-to-reach building spaces.

The mobile, in this case rather "mobile" AutoCAD:


From behind-the-scenes information and discussions with Autodesk employees. Much is spent on Learning - both in terms of linking to a CAD product (AI-driven contextual assistance) and in user profiles (lifelong learning, from student life to professional phases of user's career, linking to colleagues).

The recent unpopular shutdown of technical support for older Autodesk versions (while quite common in the industry, similar to mobile phones, Apple, Microsoft) allowed Autodesk to shut down as much as 8 old, difficult to maintain, legacy systems.

The AU closing party (co-sponsored by conference partners: HP, DELL, Lenovo, ANSYS, Unity, nVidia, AWS) took place in big style - a closed Las Vegas street including all bars, pubs, stages and the High Roller wheel - reserved just for AU participants.

Personal note:
- When you go to AU "in a desert", you usually do not expect to pack your umbrella.
- Even in virtual reality you can have a beer.