Using the tools within the VehicleForge open-source development environment, team members in different places will be able to collaborate in real time. A virtual collaborative design element will allow users to cooperatively explore a design in a three-dimensional environment. “An entire team can occupy the virtual design space at any one time, debating different component and design options,” says Wiedenman.
Under Challenge 1, teams will have three months to design, assemble, integrate and virtually test the drivetrain and mobility system—engine, transmission, suspension and tracks/wheels—using the Meta design tools, C2M2L component models and VehicleForge portal. Designs will be tested against the requirements using simulation benches and context models. The winner will be built by the Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits (iFAB) foundry as an automotive test rig for ground-vehicle acceptance tests.
Challenge 2, in late 2013, will give teams another three months to design the chassis and structure around the drivetrain and mobility system, integrate the occupants and auxiliary systems, and virtually test the vehicle's performance against requirements such as payload and durability. The winning design will be built by the foundry as a hull-article test rig and put through testing, including for survivability.
In Challenge 3, planned for 2014 and the culmination of FANG, teams will have six months to design, integrate and virtually test a complete vehicle. An automated scoring system will evaluate the simulated performance characteristics against vehicle requirements. The winning design will be built by the foundry as a production-ready vehicle and tested by the Marines alongside its ACV prototypes to see if it can meet the requirements and be a candidate for the program.
Combined, the 18-month program will give teams 12 months of collaborative design time to produce a complete vehicle. The first and second challenges each carry a $1 million prize, with $2 million riding on the final competition.
“We are not part of the Marines' ACV program of record,” says Wiedenman. “We have a close working relationship with the Marines, but they are not counting on FANG for the success of their program. We will run in parallel and, if we are successful, the ACV program will simply be the first beneficiary.”