The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the group of madcap government scientists that comes up with ideas like military insect bots and thinking cameras, wants help from creative laypeople in designing the combat vehicles of the future.
The Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle (XC2V) Design Challenge, launched this week by DARPA and Local Motors, is soliciting vehicle body concept designs for two missions: Combat Reconnaissance and Combat Delivery & Evacuation. DARPA explains:
From concept to construction current military vehicle manufacturing processes take several years. By leveraging the power of the crowd, we can contribute to reducing that timeline significantly. Additionally, this opens the aperture to introduce greater ideas and design compilation with a reduction in time and the potential for a better performing vehicle. This more efficient process could save lives and improve mission success.
DARPA's extensive list of requirements for the vehicles include a maximum payload of 1,200 pounds, maximum towing capacity of 4,000 pounds, "some place from where the vehicle can be defended if necessary," control tower-like visibility, and room for up to five passengers.
In exchange for your brainpower, DARPA is offering $7,500 (plus the chance to see your design turned into a functioning concept vehicle) to the first place winner, $1,500 to the second place winner, and $1,000 to the third place winner. And of course, all the winners get bragging rights for being involved in a DARPA project. The contest runs from February 10 to March 10.