Are you familiar with the term “crowdsourcing”? While this is one of the many buzzwords you’ll hear in the social media space for “crowd” or open collaboration, it’s exactly the concept that the Pentagon is trying to implement to solve their military vehicle programs.
The reasons for this very issue are based on cancelled contracts, no set strategy for resetting the military’s fleet of Humvees, and talks of how the “MATV is inadequately armored against the kind of IEDs they are finding” in Afghanistan, as reported by Daniel Goure, Ph.D. with the Early Warning Blog at the Lexington Institute for Defpro.com. Pentagon’s agency, DARPA, has come up with an approach to designing and building military hardware by crowdsourcing the vehicle “to an anonymous ‘mob’ of rally car enthusiasts,” Dr. Goure wrote.
“The objective is to see if a combat support vehicle can be designed in a prototype built in months rather than years.” So which vehicle will this be? It’s none other than the XC2V, which is “a derivative of one of Local Motors rally vehicles with a GM LS3 V8 engine, a commercial 4-speed automatic and a rear axle from Ford.”
The way the military has worked traditionally is to put together a complex design process, jam packed with complex requirements and specifications that are government-approved.
Similar to the concept of “tapping into the wisdom of the crowd” in social enterprise collaboration, the military hopes that this initiative can “be key to ensuring that the military can still get the kind of equipment it needs in a relatively short time and at a reasonable cost,” Dr. Goure wrote. “Expected tight budget environment will force the military to reduce the time and costs associated with developing new capabilities.”