Pentagon Offers Prizes for Crowdsourced Military Vehicle Designs

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DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), in collaboration with MIT, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and GE, is initiating a program to crowdsource designs for the next generation of military vehicles.

The New York Times reports about the program:

The near-term target, they said, is to collaborate on a design for an amphibious vehicle for the Marines. The first contest, with a $1 million prize, is planned for early next year. It involves mobility and drive-train subsystems for the vehicle. Next, about six months later, will be the design for the chassis and other subsystems, a contest that will carry another $1 million prize.

While not directly related to 3D printing, there is a connection. By crowdsourcing ideas for new military vehicles,  the government is extending military design beyond the walls of the Pentagon. DARPA is acknowledging that the wisdom of the crowds might be a great way to augment the expertise of its staff.

If this model proves out, it could lead to wider adoption of crowdsourced design for other industries, such as consumer products, fashion and sports. Enter 3D printers and you have a future where individuals can leverage crowdsourced designs to find new products and print them in their own home or community.

It’s going to happen.

Read more about the program at the New York Times.

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