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Autodesk acquires urban design A.I. assistant Spacemaker

Revit and CAD maker Autodesk has acquired Spacemaker, an Oslo-based, artificial intelligence-focused software company with the aim of building out its automation options for users.

As the world’s major cities continue to grow exponentially, AI has taken on a huge role in the architecture and urban planning fields as it can help streamline designers’ workflows by simplifying lighting, traffic, and massing studies. In their press release announcing the acquisition, Autodesk touted Spacemaker’s ability to increasing productivity through analytics to improve both functionality and sustainability in a development.

The Norwegian cloud-based technology company, founded in 2016, serves as an “assistant project manager” to its users, giving them a helping hand in crafting more efficient and streamlined designs. As architects create 3D models in their Autodesk program of choice, they can input their project data, parameters, and constraints into Spacemaker’s criteria form. From there, the system will analyze the existing 3D model and written data to process alternate layouts and configurations. The best possible site plans are then selected by A.I. and displayed in a sidebar in the user’s Autodesk program of choice, along with additional statistics and tips.

Each recommended site plan can replace the original design or export to a digital library, where users can pit them against each other to compare and contrast the benefits and flaws of each. Comparisons, provided through both statistical and visual means, help users choose the best overall design. This expedited iterative design process can now be solved within a day with AI, freeing up architects to create more and analyze the costs and benefits of each model less.

The platform also has the capacity to analyze large chunks of data, including lighting, sound, traffic, zoning, and even wind patterns to further personalize virtual design outcomes.

Spacemaker also touts it’s collaborative potential due to its online, cloud-based structure, where dozens of people can work on the same 3D model and project at the same time.

Autodesk signed the agreement to adopt the Norwegian-born startup last November. The $240 million transaction is expected to close before January 31 of this year. Post-acquisition, Spacemaker will function as an independent application within Autodesk, not interfering with any of their software functionality unless specifically called to action.

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