Multinational software company Autodesk Inc. announced it has made an investment in drone manufacturer 3D Robotics, one of three initial stakes the company is making via its $100 million Forge Fund.
Although Autodesk now develops a broad range of software, the company is best known for AutoCAD, computer-aided design software used primarily by architects, engineers, and structural designers.
The Autodesk Forge Fund invests in companies developing innovative solutions or services on or connected to the Forge Platform, a set of cloud services that connects design, engineering, visualization, collaboration, production and operations workflows.
Company offials at Autodesk said 3D Robotics is using the Forge Platform “to develop one of the industry’s most trusted aerial data capture and analytics platforms for enterprise field professionals within infrastructure, construction, survey, mapping, telecom, and energy industries.” Leveraging the Forge Reality Capture API, 3D Robotics customers can convert drone-captured photos into engineering data, enabling them to better manage sites and reduce risk.
“Capturing site data today is costly, time consuming, and often dangerous. Drones can easily go where it’s inefficient or unsafe for field personnel, making it easier to accurately measure our world so we can better manage it,” said Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DR. “We’re delighted to expand our relationship with Autodesk and use of the Forge platform to deliver a complete solution for site capture that will help professional customers save time and money, and more importantly take humans out of harm’s way.”
As part of its initial investments, the Autodesk Forge Fund also invested in Maketime, an online manufacturing platform that matches projects from buyers to production hours on computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines from pre-qualified suppliers, and Seebo, a software as a service (SaaS) platform for developing Internet of Things (IoT) and smart, connected products.
To encourage developers to explore Forge, Autodesk is also offering unlimited free use of the platform in eligible countries until September 15, 2016.
The amounts of the Forge Fund investments are not known at this time.
To read more about the Forge platform, visit the Autodesk website here.
Video (below): 3D Robotics Solo with Site Scan integrates with Autodesk Workflow
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com