The Department of Defense plans to use crowdsourcing as part of the development of its Fast, Adaptable, Next-generation Ground (FANG) vehicle.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded the engineering firm Ricardo Inc. a $9.8 million contract to develop and produce the FANG. The vehicle will mirror the Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle, an assault vehicle that can travel on land or water and has direct fire, indirect fire, and landmine threat capabilities.
As part of the FANG development process, Ricardo must stage a series of challenge competitions with other engineers and designers to come up with "progressively more complex vehicle subsystems," according to DARPA. The result of these competitions, which will award about $4 million, will be a full infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).
Three specific challenges are associated with the program, according to DARPA. The first will ask designers to create a mobility/drivetrain automotive rig for an IFV. The second will call for the design of a vehicle chassis/survivability suite that will be tested for static and dynamic structural properties and a demonstrated ability to incorporate modular bolt-on armor, as well as other survivability features. A third challenge -- for which DARPA will award $2 million of the total prize money -- will ask engineers to create a full IFV design aside from the command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance suite.
To compete in the FANG challenges, designers and engineers will use tools set up by DARPA to make the process more collaborative and open to innovation, even from nontraditional designers. Those resources include design tools developed through DARPA's META program and its vehicleforge.mil collaboration environment.