Autodesk bolsters Forge platform with new developer APIs

Autodesk's $100 million Forge Fund has also made strategic investments in three startups in the 3D printing and drone space.

Autodesk has been busy bolstering its cloud and hardware portfolios over the last few years as it works to fuel development of cloud-based technologies and advances in 3D printing technology.

To that end, the design software maker today announced several major updates to its cloud-based platform Forge as well as key investments in three startups via its $100 million Forge Fund.

Autodesk first launched the Forge Platform-as-a-Service offering last year in an effort to attract developers who could build applications and services using Autodesk's APIs and SDKs. Since its inception, Autodesk says the Forge program has attracted developers across the architecture, engineering, construction and manufacturing industries, as well as emerging areas such as AR, additive manufacturing, and IoT.

Autodesk then launched the $100 million Forge Fund to grow the developer base even further and advance "the future of how things are designed, made, and used."

The Bay Area-based company is now updating the Forge platform with new tools for data management, 3D printing and model viewing, design automation, and model processing. The update also includes the release of three new APIs; Data Management API, Model Derivative API, and the 3D Print API.

On the investment side, Autodesk's Forge Fund has backed a 3D robotics drone company, an on-demand manufacturing platform and a SaaS platform for developing smart devices connected to the Internet of Things.

With this investment, 3D Robotics (3DR) will use the Forge platform to develop an aerial data and analytics platform for enterprise field workers. MakeTime, the on-demand manufacturing platform, will use Forge to connect designers to a virtual shop of scalable CNC machining and production services. And finally, SaaS startup Seebo will use Forge to connect Autodesk design apps to other IoT platforms.

"We are seeing Forge used to power the future of making things for a variety of applications ranging from part inspection to sub-sea surveying, from managing mines with drones to turning cost estimation into a competitive advantage, and building online design and manufacturing services and much, much more," said Amar Hanspal, SVP of Products at Autodesk, in a statement.