Inventors from across the country can enter a national competition to design a new amphibious infantry fighting vehicle
Inventors from across the country can enter a national competition to design a new amphibious infantry fighting vehicle for the U.S. Marine Corps and Vanderbilt University’sInstitute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) is playing a key role in the development of the engineering software that makes the challenge possible.
The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) commissioned the development of the open source software, released it to the public this week and challenged all comers to enter the first stage of a $4-million dollar competition to design the new military vehicle.
The open-source software and the competition are both part of DARPA’s Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) program, which has the goal of dramatically reducing the costs and lead times involved in developing new military vehicles by radically transforming the existing design and manufacturing process.
Vanderbilt University’s multiple key roles in the AVM program include lead developer of VehicleFORGE, a cloud-based collaboration hub where designers can organize project teams. ISIS is also the lead integrator and developer for the META-X project that provides the open-source tool used in creating, testing and validating those designs. The META-X tool, known as CyPhy, includes software that analyzes interactions between individual design components to determine how well they work together.
The program also includes a model library that holds the digital designs of a number of basic components, like wheels, bearings and transmissions. The library was developed by Ricardo, a Detroit-based engineering and technical consulting company, and its components are tested, readied for the competition and provided to competing teams by Vanderbilt through VehicleFORGE.
The Foundry is another part of AVM, which uses the latest tools to turn digital models into actual vehicles, and is located at the Advanced Research Laboratory at Penn State University.
The DARPA challenge is titled FANG, which stands for Fast, Adaptive, Next-Generation Ground Vehicle. The challenge consists of three competitions of increasing complexity. The first challenge – which began Jan. 14 and runs through April 22 and has a $1 million prize – is to design a suitable power train, including engine, drive train, suspension and wheels or treads. The second challenge, which carries another $1 million prize, will be to design the chassis, armored hull, personnel space and related subsystems. The final challenge has a $2 million prize for the best design for an entire vehicle. The agency is inviting individuals, small teams and businesses and major defense contractors to compete.
The first challenge already has attracted more than 850 competitors organized in more than 200 teams.
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