News: Autodesk invests in AI tech

1516 0 technology can be trained to recognise AEC objects in video and stills

Boston-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) developer has closed its Series A funding round for $7 million, with money coming from Autodesk, Borealis Ventures, Castor Ventures, in addition to its original funders.

Autodesk sees this as a strategic investment in machine learning within the AEC space and is now integrating applications based on its ‘VINNIE’ engine into Autodesk BIM 360. Borealis Ventures also has a proven track record in AEC investment having been early investors in SketchUp, Revit and was AEC Magazine’s booth buddy at last year’s Autodesk University and founder Josh Kanner gave us a very impressive demonstration of’s capabilities. Using speech and image recognition, the technology makes photos and videos searchable for AEC equipment, material and material defects – just about anything it’s taught to identify. This can be applied to images, drone footage or recorded video.

The company’s core focus is safety and its ‘VINNIE’ engine can be used to automatically tag people, hardhats, ladders and other things from uploaded videos and photos. Once these items have been processed with tags, photos and videos can be searched for items and people.

In another example, video was shot going through a concrete lined tunnel. The AI identified the cracks and, after being trained by experts over a number of iterations to grade the cracks on a scale of severity, was able to automate the process of finding, analysing and identifying concrete cracks which needed urgent remedial work. There was no laser scanning; it was all identified from a Go Pro video.

On the investment by Autodesk, Kanner commented, “The best thing about Autodesk is how in tune they are with our mission of integrated data. Our partnership with them in no way limits – and in fact expands – our capacity to build integrated solutions with all our partners, both new and existing. Autodesk fully understands how important “data neutrality” is, not just to our products’ success, but as a business imperative to the ever-increasingly interconnected industrial world of tomorrow.”


The team behind were the original creators of Vela systems, which was acquired by Autodesk to provide the core technologies which emerged as BIM 360 Field.

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