DARPA Crowd-Sourcing Combat Vehicle Design

A computer-aided design of the chassis to be used in DARPA's challenge, Photo: DARPA

Crowd-sourcing has been a key initiative of the Obama administration’s open government plans.

But, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is taking the open call for development one step further, allowing soldiers, DoD personnel and members of the public to give their two cents and more on the development of a new combat vehicle.

“Soldiers love to give feedback, to put it nicely, about the limitations of their vehicles,” said Army Lt. Col. Nathan Wiedenman, deputy program manager for the Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle Design Challenge.

“I spent months in Afghanistan hearing from soldiers about their issues with their vehicles. So here’s an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to how we can do things better,” he added.

DARPA’s crowd-sourcing project, which DARPA officials say can actually reduce the time it takes to design and build complex systems, aims to have a “fully functional concept vehicle” completed by June, according to an American Forces Press Service report.

Submissions for the design challenge are due by March 3. The submissions, for either a combat delivery vehicle or a combat reconnaissance vehicle can be submitted in almost any form — from a drawing on sketch paper to more sophisticated software-assisted designs.

The winner receives $7,500, while second- and third-place finishes will take home $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

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