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

Man looks at AR data on tablet.

On-demand, in-context data

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

Coworkers gather around laptop to collaborate.

Real-time collaboration

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

Two construction workers have a discussion on worksite.

Faster, smarter decisions

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

Construction worker looks at data on tablet on construction site.

Sustainable future

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

Extended reality at Autodesk

Workshop XR in-app image with logo.

Experience 3D models immersively with Autodesk Workshop XR

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

Boston FBX model courtesy of Geopipe

Rendering of a concept car showing airstreams designed using Alias.

Design naturally using Create VR

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

Man uses headset to visualize project on screen.

Using VR to build MEP systems underground

See how Kane uses Prospect by IrisVR to coordinate and visualize one of their most unique projects.

Image courtesy of Kane and IrisVR

Two men look at computer screen.

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

Man uses VR headset in office.


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 men use tablet on construction site.


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.

City skyline with overlay.


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.

Extended reality by industry

Three coworkers look at VR project model.

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.

Man works in a workshop with overlay.

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.

Two people working with motion capture technology.

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) on XR

What is extended reality?

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. 

What is virtual reality?

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. 

What is augmented reality?

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.

What is mixed reality?

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”). 

Why is extended reality important?

Professionals in every field are working on more complex projects with larger teams and shorter deadlines. Distributed teams are making the best design decisions possible, before anything is built. 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:

  • Align data to model coordination and test for crucial elements in a full-scale, immersive environment. Autodesk Workshop XR is an immersive design review workspace for AEC teams—connected directly to Autodesk Construction Cloud.
  • Converge design with the built world for quality control to assess execution errors and 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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