Autodesk announced today that it has purchased Spacemaker, based in Oslo, for $240 million. While Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk CEO, said he was excited about Spacemaker’s potential to support urban planning, he also believes that the underlying technology of the startup would help catalyze AI growth across his business.
For nearly four decades, Autodesk, using computer-assisted design tools, has been pioneering next-generation technology for designers. But the company has become a major believer in the power of data, cloud, affordable computing, and AI to build even more efficient design tools as technology keeps leaping ahead.
For us, this was a five-year-plus ride,” said Anagnost.” In promoting the integration of these technologies, we have been very involved. We assume, at a high level, that these innovations will be reasonably transformative in helping our clients make better choices.
The key is to move from technologies that simply digitize planning tools for designers to those that produce designs and results and enable a wider range of stakeholders to collaborate more. In the construction room, that’s especially challenging, but it also offers a major upside.
“Anagnost said It will allow interdisciplinary communication to become far more effective. “The device will serve as an interpreter and provide input in real-time between engineers, architects, and construction professionals.”
In this sphere, Autodesk’s efforts involve building AI into its Revit program that models knowledge building. The company also invested in the Bridgit software company, which then incorporated its services into Construction IQ. The latter uses AI to analyze building protection, partly to analyze RFIs and submissions for projects.
“We’re trying to provide predictive analytics for end users,” Anagnost said. Your schedule will move forward to this degree if you choose this contractor, or you might increase some risk here. And based on historical trends and based on the information they have it scores those results.
But there’s more Autodesk needs to do.
Going further with Spacemaker
Spacemaker, which was established in 2016, targets landowners and developers who are in the early stages of planning their designs. In order to rapidly configure a project across a wide range of categories, such as space use, environmental effects, sound, and mixes between commercial and residential, the platform utilizes multiple layers of technology, including AI and machine learning.
The platform analyzes and then produces options for broad swaths of data, including zoning details, lighting, and occupancy requirements. They can almost immediately see the effect on the overall plan as participants change criteria and constraints. And it is possible to include a much broader range of participants from the outset, including owners, architects, engineers, and even local regulators.
“In order to get good results, cooperation is really needed,” Spacemaker CEO Håvard Haukeland said. You have this linear method today where the designer comes up with a plan and it needs to be reviewed by an engineer. But then you’re going to have this very slow process.
With CTO Carl Christensen and Chairman Anders Kvale, Haukeland formed the company with the aim to develop urban development as quickly as possible.
“The world’s population growth is immense, and everyone is moving to cities,” said Christensen. Each week, we create something like a city the size of Paris. Right now that’s going on and it’s going to continue for the near future, for the next 20 to 30 years. And that means that any non-optimal project that is developed today is kind of a lost opportunity to change the world. And for decades, it will be there.
Last year, led by Atomico and Northzone, Spacemaker raised a $25 million round of venture capital. Northzone partner Michiel Kotting said with the acquisition announcement, Autodesk could help Spacemaker meet a much larger audience.
“In a very small, slow-moving room, this is a transformative technology,” Kotting said. “It feels like this sort of accelerant is necessary for you.”