Thousands Experience the Future of Making Things at Autodesk University 2016

Autodesk kicked off its annual flagship user event this week, welcoming almost 10,000 attendees to learn, network and explore the future of making things. Autodesk University showcased new ways that buildings, products and more are being designed, made and used.

At the event, the company unveiled new and updated technologies that give Autodesk customers the power to make anything. Autodesk also outlined plans for a streamlined portfolio of cloud platforms that simplify the work of designers, engineers, digital artists and others.

“We’re all in on the cloud. Access to infinite computing power and the ability to work together effortlessly is completely changing how design and engineering are done,” said Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk.

In their keynote speeches, Bass and CTO Jeff Kowalski shared a vision for the future of work, where designers and engineers will collaborate with computers to achieve more than was previously possible. The keynote featured appearances by people whose endeavors embody this emerging future: Anna Nixon, a high school student from Oregon competing in the First Robotics Competition and Christian Benimana, Rwanda’s first trained architect and programs director for MASS Design Group.

Throughout the event, Autodesk University attendees saw how their peers are taking advantage of the transformative power of technologies like generative design, augmented and virtual reality, robotics, additive manufacturing and more.

Senior Vice President of Products Amar Hanspal delved deeper into Autodesk’s product portfolio and cloud software platforms, breaking news on new capabilities coming to Fusion 360 and BIM 360.

Hanspal also spotlighted Forge, Autodesk’s connected developer platform used to build and deploy apps and services for making the world around us. In the year since Forge was launched, the platform has surpassed 4,000 applications, which span a variety of uses ranging from part inspection to sub-sea surveying. Autodesk has invested in several companies through its Forge Fund and has aggressively broadened the Forge platform, focusing on enhancements to AR/VR and rendering to drive immersive real-time industry focused experiences.

“With our ongoing shift to cloud services, we are 100% focused on delivering maximum value to our subscribers and software developers. We are building a set of complete, connected and on-demand experiences for each of our major industries. Our aim is to empower engineers, designers and other users to have their project data in one place, collaborate across geographies, and more easily tap into the immense capabilities in Autodesk’s portfolio,” said Hanspal.

Customer projects from Briggs Automotive Company, Swinerton Builders and JE Dunn Construction’s showcased how they are using cloud services to pioneer new ways of working, try new business models and embrace the future.

In addition to the keynotes, hundreds of hands-on classes and networking with peers, the conference offered dozens of interactive exhibits that bring the future of making things to life. Examples included live industrial robotic 3D printing, a brick-laying construction robot, the first-ever generatively designed office building, an open-sourced 3D printed drone, a virtual reality experience to configure a full-scale Ford Mustang, and augmented reality construction hard hats. While these technologies are expected to reach the mainstream in the next one to four years, they're available today for those cutting-edge innovators who are propelling us into the future.

AU concluded on Thursday with an appearance by comedian, actor and former fake-news correspondent Rob Corddry, followed by a keynote from Autodesk SVP for Business Strategy and Marketing Andrew Anagnost recapping the highlights and lessons of the event.

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