DARPA FANG Challenge – $1M to the winners

In 2010 the Department of Defense and DARPA began an unprecedented program to crowd-source the creation of the military’s new Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM).  The thinking was that this could result in a broader range of ideas and potentially lower costs. 

To generate interest in the project, DARPA is offering $1M to the winning designers of the drivetrain (competition now closed) and another $1M to the winning designers of the Chassis and Structure.

Critical to making crowd sourcing work was the creation of a new multi-platform development environment/toolkit that would span the entire design process including programs like;

·         META, a virtual design validation tool

·         C2M2L (Component, Context, and Manufacturing Library), a standardized component model library

·         VehicleFORGE, an open-source collaboration environment

As a result, the AVM project is a complete revolution in the way data is managed and in the way designs are created for military applications.

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While those components represent the development phase of the AVM project, DARPA also looked to extend this revolutionary paradigm to the manufacturing phase of the project.   Named the Instant Foundry Adaptive Through Bits (iFAB) program, this novel approach to manufacturing represents DARPAs vision for the future of product creation.

According to DARPA, “The iFAB vision is to move away from wrapping a capital-intensive manufacturing facility around a single defense product, and toward the creation of a flexible, programmable, potentially distributed production capability able to accommodate a wide range of systems and system variants with extremely rapid reconfiguration timescales.”

In the near term, the goal of the AVM project is the creation of the military’s Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG GCV), “a new heavy, amphibious infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) with functional requirements mirroring those of the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) program.”

To create the FANG GCV, the project will be developed in three separate phases. Phase 1, is concerned with development of the vehicle’s “drivetrain and mobility systems.” Soon after the first phase the Second Phase, focusing on the creation of the FANG’s Chassis and Structure, will begin. The final design phase will be dedicated to assembling the models from Phase 1 and 2 into a “functional vehicle architecture.”

For each of these phases the public is encouraged to begin using DARPA’s AVM toolkit to develop their vision of the FANG GCV. After each project phase has closed DARPA will use an “objective” rubric to score each design.  The design with the highest total score will win the phase competition and be awarded a cash prize (Phase 1 & 2 : $1M; Phase 3: $2M). In addition, the winning design will be used in the FANG GCV’s final architecture.

According the DARPA’s website The FANG Challenge’s first phase ended on April, 15 2013, and the winning entry is set to be announce shortly. Unofficial scores on the VehicleFORGE website have team “Ground Systems” well ahead of second place competitors “CDR”, but until DARPA makes the final call we won’t know exactly whose drivetrain will outfit the FANG GCV.

Stay tuned for further updates as we’ll be reporting about the winners of each phase of this extraordinary design competition.


DARPA has selected the winner for Phase 1 of the FANG Challenge. Team “Ground Systems” did in fact win the competition. Interestingly enough, each member of the three person team lived in a different state (Texas, Ohio, California), underscoring another possible benefit of crowd-sourced design, geographic flexibility. 

Learn More about the FANG Challenge:

Images and Video Courtesy of DARPA