Crowd-Driven Combat Support Vehicle Prototype Completed in 98 Days

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Flypmode seen on its first test drive. Photo: Local Motors

After 14 weeks of work, rapid prototyping automotive manufacturer Local Motors has completed the manufacturing of the ‘Flypmode’, the winning design of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s ‘Crowd-Driven Combat Support Vehicle’ XC2V.

DARPA’S XC2V Design Challenge asked individuals to co-create a vehicle body design for two different missions – Combat Reconnaissance and Combat Delivery & Evacuation. The FLYPMODE, designed by Victor Garcia won the first prize – $7,500 in cash and to be built into a prototype by Local Motors.

The Flypmode, designed by Victor Garcia, is designed as an agile, modular and missionized design, based on the Local Motors built chassis. Photo: Local Motors

This video shows part of the birth of the Flypmode, in a time-lapse video

The Flypmode is designed as an agile, modular and missionized design, based on the Local Motors built chassis. The side rails are maintained high to support high mobility over cross country terrain. Yet, some design elements are contributing to the safety and protection of the occupants, such as rapid egress, ingress and egress for the driver and co driver, and attachments for carriage of loads and personal gear around the vehicle, adding to the protection of the crew. The vehicle was designed to a maximum loaded weight of 2,721kg (6,000 lbs), therefore, the use of armor protection would be almost impossible, although designers were required to include potential location for ‘360 degree, horizon to horizon protection’.

A top view of the Flypmode shows the 360 degree visibility offered by the all-round windows. One of the mission requirement for the contest was the use of such vehicle in airbase protection and forward air control role. Photo: Local Motors.

The design offers all-round windows providing 360 degree visibility, suitable for the recce role and improving situational threat awareness. The vehicle has an overall length of 4.55 m’, width of 2.08 m’ and height of 1.98 m’. The internal space can accommodate a driver, commander and between one to three passengers. The rear ramp provides ample space for loads, personal gear or carriage of up to three wounded personnel on standard stretchers.

With winners selected using current methods – the program turns to an analysis of crowd-sourced selection. The next research question becomes, how could crowd-sourced selection contribute to the goals of Defense manufacturing? Fundamental questions remain regarding the role of diversity vice expertise in such design and selection tasks. In the coming weeks DARPA will include potential vehicle end users in alternative engagements. This follow-on study seeks more answers and may allow for a second vehicle to be built. Side-by-side evaluation between crowd-selected and end-user-selected vehicles will be conducted.

Flypmode seen on its first test drive. Photo: Local Motors