MILITARY

Can YOU Design the Army's Next Rescue Vehicle?

Open-source design often leads to great software, such as the Linux operating system and the Firefox web browser. But can the military use the concept to create a new rescue vehicle?

XC2V Rodox

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been collecting dozens of ideas for a design on a new rescue vehicle via a social media competition. 

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XC2V Armadillo

So perhaps the agency will build the Armadillo, shown here: a vehicle with an extendable "tail" that creates more room in a back compartment for up to three injured warfighters to rest comfortably until they return to base for medical attention. In its default configuration, the Armadillo carries two rear-facing passengers to assist with the mission. It has terrific wide windows for a good look around and a roof that slides open if you need to take a 360-degree survey of the area.

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XC2V Padre

Maybe the Department of Defense (DoD) instead will produce the Padré, seen here: a reconfigurable vehicle that provides maximum comfort to the scout team riding in it. Soldiers can change its modular storage system to hold cargo or to connect sensor units or a weapon. The lightweight vehicle has an open design to afford maximum visibility for its crew while providing all-terrain capabilities allowing them to cover rough ground.

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XC2V T34

Or DARPA could choose to cruise in this concept, called the T34, to which soldiers could connect light armor panels to its side when they enter a hotzone to rescue their compatriots. The T34 can ditch the armor when it has to roll really fast but it has periscope visors along its size to expand the field of vision for the crew regardless of its armored state.

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XC2V Hammerhead

As intriguing as these vehicles are, they actually serve as a window into the potential success of creating a vehicle through collaboration via a wiki.

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XC2v Blue Steel

Contributors can draw over the designs for these vehicles or provide in-depth comments for their creators to incorporate. Creators can adapt their designs accordingly and resubmit them up until the deadline. Local Motors of Chandler, Ariz., is running the DARPA competition, known as the Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle (XC2V) Design Challenge, through March 10. 

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XC2V AP-C2

Anyone can submit a design, and participants or observers in the competition can provide every design with some feedback until its finalized. Then the military will judge the submissions and build a concept model of a rescue vehicle from the winning design in June.

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XC2V Stealth

It’s not so different than when multiple users edit a page on Wikipedia, Local Motors CEO John Rogers told FoxNews.com. “Effectively, we want to co-create all aspects of a vehicle,” Rogers explained. “The Wikipedia method of co-creation is really not far off from the way we talk about it."

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XC2V Start

"It's the collaboration between a company and a customer or a company and a community of people who are enthusiasts or informants. And we want all of those people to take part in the creation of this vehicle,” Rogers said.

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XC2V Sketch

Perhaps someone has a great ideal for a specific part of a vehicle and how it could operate more efficiently. But perhaps someone else who has studied the perspective of enemy forces would have an idea of how they would react to such a part. Yet another contributor would have great insight into how to supply those parts.

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XC2V Fast

“All of these people have a stake. They are stakeholders in a vehicle when it is produced. So co-creation is about tying into those groups and getting those people to inform the process,” Rogers declared.

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XC2V Explorer

Rogers stressed that the co-creation process does not leave things to chance. Local Motors guides the co-creation process. Some of the decisions on the XC2V vehicle have been made already, for example. Participants in the competition can download 3-D models of the basics and build their additions over these “hard points.”

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XC2V Direction

The XC2V Design Challenge, which already has dozens of incomplete entries after running for slightly over a week, will result in the construction of a concept vehicle, said Lt. Col. Nathan Wiedenman, deputy program manager for the DARPA Adaptive Vehicle Make portfolio, which is testing the waters with the XC2V Design Challenge. In this way, the process itself for creating the XC2V vehicle serves as a proof of concept.

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XC2V Design

"It takes us 10 or 20 years to develop a complex military system like a jet or a ship or a tank. We want to reduce that by a factor of five to ten,” Lt. Col. Nathan Wiedenman told FoxNews.com.

Local Motors

Can YOU Design the Army's Next Rescue Vehicle?

Open-source design often leads to great software, such as the Linux operating system and the Firefox web browser. But can the military use the concept to create a new rescue vehicle?

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