Autodesk University 2017: Day 1 Roundup

It’s Autodesk University time again. What’s great is that the weather in Las Vegas is in the 70’s. What’s not great is that I won’t be outside to enjoy it. But that is what AU is all about. And who needs to go outside when all the action is happening inside the halls of conference.

Here’s a roundup of Day 1 at AU2017.

AEC Excellence Awards

Foster + Partners and FR-EE take 1st Place in the Infrastructure category of the AEC Excellence Awards.

The day started off in a big way with the AEC Excellence Awards breakfast. Imagine being greeted at the door with a glass of champagne in which to toast the winners.  Finalists in the categories of Sustainability, Infrastructure, Building Design and Construction were showcased during the 2-hour event.

In the Infrastructure category, Norconsult AS took 3rd place for the Ulriken Tunnel project.  2nd place went to The LiRo Group for their work on the East Side Access project in NYC.  First place was awarded to Foster + Partners and FR-EE for the Mexico City International Airport project.  Congratulations to the winners and all the finalists!

 

AU Opening Keynote

The breakfast celebration was followed by the AU Opening Keynote. Attendees were welcomed into the Hall by DJ Miss Lucy who helped keep everyone entertained as we waited for the main event. CEO and President of Autodesk, Andrew Anagnost kept the audience captivated during the keynote by talking about More, Better, Less. Because I am a civil engineer, what I heard was more infrastructure to serve the masses, better functioning systems, and less work to make it all happen. Customers inspired the audience by talking about how their business changed when they began to focus on how automation could offer opportunity. Automation does not eliminate jobs, it creates them – they just might not be the same jobs we are used to.

The Exhibit Hall

This year, the Exhibit Hall at AU focused on our customers and their stories.  Here are just a couple of the exciting and inspiring exhibits.

Mexico City Airport

Image courtesy of Foster + Partners

Put people first.  That was the goal for this project.  At 470,000 square meters, this airport will be one of the world’s largest. But its primary design focus is the passenger experience.  Designed with an open air concept, travelers will be able to see the gates and where they are heading in a space full of daylight. The design also anticipates the predicted increase in passenger numbers by 2028 and beyond, along with an expansion plan through 2062 for an eventual six runways.

The LiRo Group AR/VR Exhibit

I was lucky enough to get a personal tour of the Liro AR/VR exhibit by David Wu from Liro. In the experience I walked around a virtual construction field office and ultimately ended up in a virtual car driving the construction project. I may have hit a few cones on my way to the end of the bridge, but luckily in a virtual world, no one gets hurt.

Their exhibit showcases their approach to using BIM and the model that comes from that process.  When design and construction first started on their 2nd Place wining East Side Access project, BIM wasn’t even in existence, but in the middle of the actual construction—LiRo Group’s Virtual Design and Construction team came on board to successfully implement BIM to analyze, visualize, and communicate project geometry, data, and workflows.

Civil Infrastructure classes and special events

As always, there was a plethora of classes to choose from, many focused on advanced civil engineering and civil infrastructure workflows. The Civil Infrastructure Futures session on Tuesday afternoon was extremely popular with AU attendees. During the session, the Civil Infrastructure product team presented some of the latest and greatest enhancements in both Civil 3D and InfraWorks and gave the audience a glimpse into the future. Rounds of applause were heard when Ara Ashikian presented new workflows for bridges and Tim Yarris was also greeted with cheering when he talked about new profile layout enhancements.