Extended reality: Virtual, augmented, and mixed

Extended reality (XR) unleashes value for teams, projects, and businesses. Immersive technologies can revolutionize data interaction and project collaboration for every professional.

Two young software development engineers look at AR smartphone, with engine blueprints on the desk in front of them

Why extended reality

Today’s projects require broader teams and seamless collaboration in less time. At Autodesk, we believe that augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) can play a key role in resolving these challenges. Immersive technologies can fundamentally change how people interact with their data and one another. 

Benefits of extended reality

  • Factory engineer wearing VR headset designs engine turbine on holographic projection table

    On-demand, in-context data

    Visualize and interact with increasingly complex data. An immersive 3D experience offers accurate depth and spatial perception. 

  • Two engineers examine and discuss 3D-projected modern wind power station in factory workshop

    Deeper, real-time collaboration

    Extended reality connects teams within a virtual, interactive environment to generate creative and innovative solutions. 

  • Four designers in an office space look at a futuristic technology screen displaying augmented reality holograms

    Faster, smarter decisions

    Use virtual collaboration to navigate complex data as a team. Gain deeper understanding and make faster, clearer decisions.

  • Silhouetted engineers point to AR infographics against the backdrop of sunset and wind farms

    Sustainable, accessible future

    Build greener cities, design cleaner cars, and make the world more accessible with fewer resources and sustainable practices.

Extended reality at Autodesk

  • Collaborate on 3D models in The Wild

    The Wild enables real-time immersive collaborative design reviews for AEC teams. 

  • Design naturally using Create VR

    Learn how designers can create fluid 3D sketches in Create VR for Alias and Maya.

  • Easily share designs with Fusion 360

    Fusion 360’s AR transports designs to real environments for review and refinement.

  • Collaboratively review with VRED

    Kia Germany's design team explores immersive, collaborative design review in VRED.

Businesswomen work in conference room with virtual cityscape projected in front of them

Platform and partners

Bring the benefits of extended reality to your business, teams, and workflows with Autodesk’s cloud-based platform, Forge. Build the applications you need and integrate our APIs with your existing software systems to get more from your data. 

Implementing extended reality

  • Two SHoP architects use an AR app to overlay a building model onto a jobsite in industrial outdoor setting

    XR Across Industries

    What is XR, and how is it radically transforming industries?

    XR’s immersive technology is gaining widespread adoption across multiple sectors to improve efficiencies, collaboration, and innovation.

  • Two SHoP architects use an AR app to overlay a building model onto a jobsite in industrial outdoor setting


    Real-time tech goes beyond XR

    XR shifts cumbersome 3D modeling tools into lifelike, interactive experiences, enabling designers and stakeholders to make better decisions faster.

    Image courtesy of SHoP Architects

  • Hand pressing icon of Cloud Computing Technology surrounded by interconnected grids


    5 ways cloud adoption benefits business

    Digitization and cloud technologies enable large-scale remote work and generate creative ways of working through automation and innovative XR.

Partners in extended reality

  • Unity enables architecture, manufacturing, entertainment, and more to bring Autodesk data into immersive real-time 3D environments (AR/VR). 

  • Epic Games’ real-time technology extends your investment in Autodesk solutions to create rich, immersive experiences. 

  • NVIDIA CloudXR increases efficiency for designers, engineers, and artists by extending Autodesk data with streaming XR experiences.

  • Arkio is a collaborative design tool for VR, desktops, tablets, and phones that provides bidirectional workflows to Revit and BIM 360.

  • Resolve is a collaborative VR software that increases 3D design/construction asset accessibility for operations and maintenance.

  • Enscape is a real-time visualization and VR plugin that empowers design workflows by turning building models into immersive 3D experiences instantly and intuitively.

Extended reality by industry

  • Male and female architects wearing AR headsets work with 3D city model projected on the table in front of them

    Architecture, Engineering & Construction

    From initial conception through operations, extended reality offers significant productivity gains. Extended reality empowers AEC professionals by providing immersive and collaborative access to any project data.

  • Two engineers use digital tablet computer with AR software to visualize and connect with high-tech machinery

    Product Design & Manufacturing

    Extended reality elevates collaboration, understanding, and experience when design and engineering converge. From concept through production, we’re providing new ways to engage and improve designs.

  • Female artist wearing AR headset uses joysticks to create abstract 3D jellyfish sculpture

    Media & Entertainment

    Audiences and content creators alike can unlock new levels of storytelling through extended reality. Artists can break free from traditional screen-focused content with true immersion and interactivity.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Extended reality (XR) is the umbrella term for a spectrum of immersive and interactive technologies. It includes augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). You can access extended reality experiences with an array of devices: mobile devices, VR headsets, and other technologies. 

Virtual reality (VR) allows you to immerse yourself in a digital world to experience the true depth and visual richness of the digital object. In the real world, you must imagine yourself working with an object. But in the digital world, you are in the world of the object. 

Augmented Reality (AR) allows you to bring virtual objects to the real world, in an interactive and spatially consistent way with real objects. Unlike Virtual Reality where you enter the world of the object, Augmented Reality brings the object to you, in your world.

Mixed Reality (MR) is the continuum between the Virtual and the Physical worlds where XR experiences exist. Towards the virtual end we find VR experiences, and towards the physical end we find AR experiences. Adding real-world elements, like pass-through video, to a VR experience will push that experience towards the physical side of the continuum. Conversely, adding virtual elements that replace or occlude the real-world in an AR experience will push that experience towards the virtual side of the continuum. Because of this, some AR or VR experiences are generically referred to as MR (if you are curious to find out more about the definition of XR, check out Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino’s 1994 paper “A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays”). 

Professionals in every field are working on more complex project with larger teams and shorter deadlines. Extended reality offers on-demand and in-context data as well as deeper collaboration in real time. Extended reality creates opportunities for faster, more informed decision making and the chance to realize an accessible and sustainable future.  

Extended reality is used across industries to:

  • Bring distributed professionals together to make the best design decisions possible, before anything is built
  • Align data to model coordination and test for crucial elements in a full-scale, immersive environment
  • Converge design with the built world for quality control to assess execution errors and to support planning
  • Create training scenarios that help operators prepare before they go onsite for maintenance and operations
  • Make live work, assembly, and instructions accessible to operators through on-demand and remote support
  • Increase game and e-commerce immersion, enabling production to make real-time decisions and changes

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