DARPA offers up $10,000 challenge for new military fighting vehicle

Can you design a tank? Well you could win $10,000

darpa, local motors
Ok so it may not be a tank, but the scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) today issued a $10,000 challenge to the general public to design a next-generation military fighting vehicle.

Specifically, DARPA's Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle (XC2V) Design Challenge, sponsored by advanced vehicle manufacturer, Local Motors calls for the general public to "conceptualize a vehicle body design for two different missions-Combat Reconnaissance and Combat Delivery & Evacuation."

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DARPA is trying to reduce the current military vehicle development and  processes from today's multi-year-long process.  Crowdsourcing such development would also open the military to "greater ideas and design compilation with a reduction in time and the potential for a better performing vehicle."

According to the Local Motors website: "The winning design from this challenge will be rapidly developed and transformed into an operational prototype that will be shown around the United States as a proof of concept. It is important to note that even though this is a militarily relevant vehicle, this is not an offensive fighting vehicle. The goal of this vehicle will be to transport items and/or people around quickly and efficiently in a potentially hostile but mobile environment."

Final submissions are due March 3, 2011, DARPA stated

While DARPA and NASA challenges are legend, you can expect to see many others.  The recently passed Competes Act now gives every department and agency the authority to conduct prize competitions, according to the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.   Prizes and challenges have an excellent track record of accelerating problem-solving by tapping America's top talent and best expertise.

According to the Office of Science and Technology Policy blog: "Whether it's developing new products that will be manufactured in America, or getting and using energy more sustainably, or improving health care with better therapies and better use of information technology, or providing better protection for our troops abroad and our citizens at home, innovation will be key to our success." 

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