Bentley Systems announced that it has acquired the French company Acute3D, provider of Smart3DCapture software for reality modeling.
Acute3D Smart3DCapture has five different editions, two of which are what the company refers to as “prosumer” editions; consumer customers and professionals working on small non-georeferenced projects can use these two editions to simply generate 3D models from photos.
Through reality modeling, photos from a variety of sources, including those from smartphones as well as high-resolution aerial imaging, can capture existing conditions that are then identified, processed and assigned points and texturized automatically into accurate representations of reality. The resulting high resolution, 3D mesh can be exported into GIS or CAD software. This is a standalone application for the desktop.
Bentley’s broad view of products dedicated to infrastructure is a good fit for Acute3D and helps both organizations extend their reach, as they are focused on the infrastructure lifecycle, from design through construction and into operations.
Acute3D is designing reality capture software for UAV operators who consume photos from various sources. “UAVs are capturing data with cameras for specific purposes,” said Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons of Acute3D. “They are used largely for land surveying for volume calculations features and reporting changes to the owners. The rest of the technology is the same whether you’re using it for UAVs or for mobile mapping.”
Acute3D already has amassed a number of customers and UAV manufacturers who are using their reality modeling Smart3DCapture.
Other areas in which Acute3D products are being used are on the site-to-city scale, for transportation, roads, mining, oil and gas. The beauty of the Smart3DCapture is that, with very little effort, customers can automatically generate from photos a 3D ‘reality mesh’ that is very accurate and detailed. These 3D ‘reality meshes’ can be exported into different software and can be used in the final data representations for contextual alignment for design modelingand construction modeling environments.
By beginning with existing conditions garnered from photos of the site, data capture can be achieved more simply and more affordably than from laser scanning.
Acute3D was co-founded in 2011 by researchers Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons and Dr. Renaud Keriven, who have led an accomplished team of researchers and developers, headquartered in Sophia Antipolis. In the beginning, Acute3D worked with an OEM in a cloud-based capacity that acquired over 6 million users of this solution; they focused on geospatial and became more involved in mobile mapping.
They decided to develop their own desktop application rather than remain with OEMs, because they wanted contact with the end users and wanted to be ready to react to the market. Smart3DCapture is the result of that decision.
Since the company was founded, Acute3D has attracted an impressive, expanding user base that includes Nokia, PASCO, and Saint-Gobain, and OEM licensees like Autodesk. Large-scale 3D city modeling is an area being explored by Acute3D with Internet giant Tencent where they are teaming up to design and build several mega-cities in China, from both aerial and street view photography. Acute3D applications also extend to gathering existing conditions capture for construction sites, manufacturing facilities, mining operations, pipelines, and oil and gas exploration.
Bentley Systems Founder and CTO Keith Bentley said, “The world-class Acute3D developers have already achieved two breakthroughs, which remove the barriers to the adoption of reality modeling. First, Acute3D has made it possible for anyone to sufficiently capture existing conditions with just a camera. Of equal importance is the value of the Acute3D result. Rather than a voluminous cloud of discrete points, Acute3D produces a 3D ‘reality mesh’ – intrinsically in the same geometric idiom as engineering models, readily aligning the real-world context.
“Just as Acute3D’s innovations have now brought reality modeling within reach of every infrastructure professional, we and our new colleagues are excited to be working together to incorporate Acute3D functionality throughout our platform and application portfolio, enhancing information mobility throughout infrastructure asset lifecycles.”
Acute3D Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons said, “When Renaud and I founded Acute3D, our vision was to make widely available, at industrial precision, what we now describe as reality modeling. With our team, we are very pleased to be joining Bentley to complete our reach. Together, we have already shared and embarked upon many new initiatives to incorporate reality modeling within design and construction modeling. Voila!”