Sink Your Teeth Into DARPA’s FANG Challenge
Been toying with the idea of designing an amphibious combat vehicle, but you just haven’t been motivated enough? Would a seven-figure cash prize pique your interest? DARPA is taking a novel crowdsourcing approach to the design of a new amphibious infantry vehicle by opening up a design competition for the proposed Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG).
Registration is now open for the first of three planned FANG Challenges. Designers interested in participating in the FANG Mobility/Drivetrain Challenge can visit the FANG Challenge site to register. The competition officially kicks off in January 2013, with the winning team awarded a $1 million cash prize. The winning design will be built in the iFAB Foundry. The iFAB (Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits) program hopes to develop foundry-style manufacturing capabilities that can be rapidly reconfigured to accommodate design variability in military ground vehicles.
Each of the three challenges will focus on a vehicle subsystem, and eventually on the design of a full, amphibious fighting vehicle that meets the requirements of the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV).
Participants will test DARPA’s META design tools and its VehicleFORGE open-source collaboration environment. By opening up the process to outside designers, DARPA hopes it can compress the development timetable for complex defense systems by a factor of five. GE and MIT are building the crowdsourcing/collaboration platform, and engineering consultancy Ricardo is running the competitions.
The second FANG Challenge (set for late in 2013) will focus on the chassis and structural subsystems for survivability; the third competition, focused on complete vehicle design, is scheduled for 2014.
Below is a DARPA video introducing the competition.