Autodesk released information about AutoCAD 2011. New to AutoCAD 2011 and particularly exciting is the new Inferred Constraints Status Bar toggle. This goes along the lines of the sketching system found in the Inventor software so that you can constrain as you draw rather than going back to the geometry and adding it after the fact which was tedious and often frustrating to say the least. While still not as advanced as the Inventor sketching system it definitely is a step in the right direction. While some other software has had this for a while, those other software programs have also lacked in other things. They also never had a vertical solution like AutoCAD Mechanical, Electrical, Inventor, or anything even close to what Autodesk has.
Here is the Preview Guide to check out what else is new in AutoCAD 2011...AutoCAD 2011 Preview Guide
As far as the interface goes, the color has been changed back from white to a gray-ish color (thank you Autodesk) and the Navigation Bar and View Cube are inherently present to help you start thinking more about 3D. The Navigation Bar even has a 3D Connexion mouse direct add in for the bar.
Another one of the additions I am fond of is the Layer Transparency to control the opaqueness of layers directly. This is not often used in mechanical design, but I can definitely see the desire for this in other fields.
Also the Scale List finally has a registry setting that lets it behave! No more troublesome scales in your drawings!
There has also been a ton of enhancements to the 3D modeling environment such as Sculpt and Surfacing improvements and even adding analysis tools like Inventor's curvature analysis, but to be honest, if you are still using AutoCAD for 3D solids for Mechanical design...you should be looking at the verticals. The time you have spent lumbering in AutoCAD could have been cost effectively applied to Inventor or Revit upgrades and training by now. Perhaps the only shining aspect of AutoCAD 3D solids has now been dwarfed by the Alias Design add in for Inventor. Still though, the mesh modeling did get enhanced and is still quite a powerful tool in the arsenal and still a great way to do some quick 3D concepts on a tight budget.
Some other notables include:
Hatch command enhancements
5 New Visual Styles for 3D
All the enhancements from the 2010 Advantage Pack
Look for more posts and videos in the coming weeks on AutoCAD enhancements.