COLLAborative Design Activity defines an XML-based schema to make it easy to transport 3D assets between applications - enabling diverse 3D authoring and content processing tools to be combined into a production pipeline.

Allegedely (according to Wikipedia) the first version of COLLADA was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment in October 2004. Khronos Group soon took over and has been maintaining the format since.

Since then two more modern formats have emerged, OpenGEX and glTF.