Autodesk makes software for people who make things. If you've ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you've experienced what millions of Autodesk customers are doing with our software. Autodesk gives you the power to make anything, but some segments of the general public are not yet aware of that.
The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco celebrates design — the process of taking a great idea and turning it into a reality. With about 60 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery illustrates the role technology plays in great design and engineering. Autodesk Gallery Ambassadors conduct gallery tours as a sideline to their day jobs. The tours provide ambassadors with opportunities to inform the public about what our customers imagine, design, and make using our software.
Sometimes exhibits from the gallery go on the road and appear at special events, like pop-up galleries that we have hosted in London, Paris, and Tokyo. In contrast, sometimes exhibits are created for special events and then make their way to the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. For example, at this year's Autodesk University in Las Vegas, we debuted 19 new exhibits. Some of these may resurface in San Francisco.
Norway's Ulriken Tunnel exhibit is one such exhibit from AU:
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Norway's train tunnel that connects Oslo and Bergen is the most heavily traveled single-track tunnel in Northern Europe.
Norway's two largest cities, Oslo and Bergen, are separated by 500 km (311 miles) and one very large mountain. A train line connects them, and its tunnel passage under Mount Ulriken is the most heavily traveled single-track tunnel in Northern Europe. It's a vital economic artery for Norway, but unfortunately, it's also a major bottleneck. In 2010, Norconsult began working with Norway's state-owned rail authority, Bane NOR, on a project to double capacity on this stretch of railway by building a second Ulriken Tunnel parallel to the first.
Norconsult created BIM models using AutoCAD, Civil 3D, and Revit, animated them with 3ds Max, and used an interactive VR experience to better visualize project plans, mitigate errors, and cut years off standard approval times.
One of the most significant obstacles for completing a rail project like this is regulatory approval of the sign and signaling system. To streamline approvals, Norconsult created an interactive virtual reality (VR) experience of the railway and its signaling system. By allowing operators to virtually drive through a simulation before construction was underway, signals could be tested earlier, preventing costly errors.
Because the project's complexity already demands extensive use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to coordinate across disciplines more efficiently, the elements needed to build a VR experience were already on hand. These BIM models, created using AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, and Revit, were animated with 3ds Max. As hoped, the interactive VR experience helped stakeholders better visualize the project plans, mitigated errors, and cut years off the standard approval time for rail projects of this size and scope.
Through a game-like experience, train operators drove on virtual train tracks while civil engineers evaluated sign-and-signal placement.
Robust, real-time virtual reality gave all stakeholders deeper insights into how users would experience the finished project, enabling them to make better decisions earlier in the design process.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
Thanks to the Autodesk Gallery team for the descriptive text for this blog post.
Autodesk has always been an automation company, and today more than ever that means helping people make more things, better things, with less; more and better in terms of increasing efficiency, performance, quality, and innovation; less in terms of time, resources, and negative impacts (e.g., social, environmental). Norway's Ulriken Tunnel is a shining example of state of the art, and as such, the project was nominated for The AEC Excellence Awards.
This is a moment that matters. The inevitability of more demand and the reality of fewer resources means an opportunity for something better. With advances in design and automation, lessons learned through adjacent industries and peers, and integrations across the technology spectrum, we can design and make a better world. Together, we can make anything.
The Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and a self-guided audio tour available anytime. Admission is free. Visit us.
Tunnel vision is alive in the lab.