Is AutoCAD Becoming Obsolete?

While Michael Jackson was breaking records and shows like ‘The Late Night Show’ were captivating audiences in the 80’s, another significant development was taking place in the world of technology: the beginning of AutoCAD. This has since revolutionized the way professionals in various fields operate, including architects. Architects and people from the industry started to transition from manual drafting to Computer-Aided Design. 

Since then, many have used AutoCAD as a first step to creating 3D or various software. But with the variety of software now available in the Architecture industry, is AutoCAD starting to become an obsolete tool for Architects?

Outdated or Changing?

Willings, a technology enthusiast and an author said, “Many technologies, like pagers, typewriters, and discman players, have moved beyond their innovative phases in recent years. Online media platforms such as Friendster, Vine, Yahoo, and Ping have also become obsolete.” With the fast-evolving landscape of technology, obsolescence is an inevitable reality that impacts numerous applications and devices, and it’s something we cannot escape.

AutoCAD, on the other hand, holds a distinct role. Although it may become less relevant in some niches, it is unlikely to be phased out entirely. In the architecture industry, many professionals continue to rely on AutoCAD as a valuable teaching tool. Some universities even include AutoCAD in their educational programs as part of their curriculum. With the new updates and feature enhancements to address cybersecurity, errors, and emerging trends, this ensures its ongoing consistency, relevance and appeal to new users.

AutoCAD in floppy disks, Daniel J. Bounds
AutoCAD in floppy disks, Daniel J. Bounds

How it all started

Autodesk introduced AutoCAD in December 1982 with an initial focus on addressing the needs of mechanical engineers. Yet, over time, its versatility became apparent as it is useful in diverse fields such as architecture, electrical engineering, design, 3D mapping and so on. Offering an interface and an easier-to-navigate set of features, AutoCAD started to include industry-specific toolsets, making it an asset for various professions. Remarkably, Autodesk has launched 37 major releases of AutoCAD over the past four decades.

Early AutoCAD workstation, Ohio State University
Early AutoCAD workstation, Ohio State University

The technology landscape is continually evolving, and the usage of specific software can change over time. New tools and platforms may emerge, offering different features and advantages. Although many drafters and designers started to adapt to the newer set of tools in our industry, many still choose to use AutoCAD because of its adaptability and extensive library of tools. Just as ‘Thriller’ remains a classic in the music industry, AutoCAD will continually remain in our field. 

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