DARPA Needs Your Help! Design A Ground Combat Vehicle.

[Joe Schlesinger] of MakeIt Labs wrote in to let us know about an upcoming live chat session march 28th on IRC to discuss DARPA’s latest project, the Adaptive Vehicle Make.

DARPA, in the pursuit of innovative high-risk high-payoff tactical technology is looking to crowd-source the design and construction of the 3000-5000 parts that make up your run of the mill super advanced next generation military hardware. They are even going to distribute about a thousand 3D printers to schools, where students will compete to design some of the complex systems.  The project emphasizes “not traditional” vendors (IE: Hackerspaces) and monetary compensation will be involved in the parts production process.

If you like acronyms (and who doesn’t), or feel like wading through jargon, check out their site. We also found the Wikipedia entry to be helpful in understanding what they are carrying on about.  A briefing PDF (6mb) also contains a lot of information on DARPA’s plans, and pretty pictures.

As per usual DARPA plans on issuing several challenges to make up the entire project, all with huge cash prizes. The first two challenges last 9 months, starting with the Mobility/Drivetrain Challenge in the middle of 2012.   The Chassis/Integrated Survivability Challenge starts in 2013.  These first two also include a cash prize of  500 thousand to one million dollars. The third challenge, the Total Platform Challenge lasts 15 months and begins in late 2013 this carries a prize of one to two million.

[Joe]’s Hackerspace will be there, any chance we could help out?

63 thoughts on “DARPA Needs Your Help! Design A Ground Combat Vehicle.

  1. I’m disappointed about this post. Hackers should not use their knowledge and networks to design military gear. Use your power and skills for peace, justice and truth.

  2. I can’t believe any open source hacker with a conscience would want to help DARPA with anything. DARPA’s all about making war and killing people. How is that innovative?

  3. I just hope their new vehicle will just explode and kill all this people at darpa. Why do they need help to kill innocents? Their engineers can’t find new way to kill people?

    @Aero: they just want to fuck the world.

  4. @ Olivier

    So you want to protest killing people by killing other people that you disagree with? How righteous of you. What are you, 11 or just ignorant? I don’t agree with war either but I also don’t believe in hurting someone for having a differing opinion. It’s people like you that cause all the problems in the world.

    Oh, and go DARPA. I want my robotic car.

  5. @Lemonmaster0: No, I’m 11 1/2 yo. Are you at least 11 3/4 to write what you wrote?

    There’s no such thing in agreeing to make wars. So yes, I don’t care if their weapons kill this guys. At least, that wouldn’t hurt innocent victims.
    The guys at DARPA (and others companies like that) don’t have a “differing opinion”, they are just murderers.

  6. If I’m not mistaken, the “D” in DARPA stands for Defense – as in defending our nation’s freedom. Last I checked, we weren’t the ones flying planes into foreign buildings because their religious beliefs differ from ours. I’m certainly not advocating war, but I’m also not supporting the idea that we sit here and take it either.

  7. It’s Defense because we changed the name of the War Department to something a little less scary.

    I think everyone has the right to defend themselves but that’s a loose philosophical position to take.

    We thought it would be a good idea to preemptively defend both us and Israel by attacking Iraq. Given all we know now I doubt anyone reasonably thinks that Iraq was actually worth it.

    I’m not saying I personally think DARPA is bad, I’m just not sure how much I’d personally want to support them.

    Ideologies get changed with other ideas, not guns and bullets. Those just displace ideologies in space and time until you luck out and finally get it with a counter ideology.

    If we spent just a fraction of our defense budget on ways of making people happy I doubt most people would be willing to fly planes into anything. If you have nothing to live for you have everything to die for.

  8. How about instead we make a machine that lifts people out of poverty; instead of another expensive murdertoy that will _surely_ defeat the AK-wielding primitives we’re currently losing to.

  9. Winning and losing are exactly why we have such a problem. Politicians tend to frame things in those terms and it doesn’t really apply.

    In terms of killing people, we’re clearly “winning.” I have no doubt that the US Military can defeat any enemy, the real problem is preventing new ones from forming.

    When you bomb the shit out of a terrorist cell and then leave the rubble behind for people to clean up, all under the impression that they will be happy because of some vague idea of freedom, you’re creating more problems.

    Where are deployable MRI’s? What about hyper-advanced water purification systems that need little maintenance? We do such a great job a destroying things but an absolute shit one at rebuilding after.

    The Iraq war to date was about a month of ultra-high tech and efficient bombing the shit out of people and about 7 years 11 months of not having a fucking clue about how to fix things and maintain order.

    I’m not a total pacifist but I think if we’re going to insist on using warfare we should at least get equally good at stability and support operations too.

  10. At first I had the same reaction as the rest of you, “How can you post shit like this, Hackaday? I trusted you!” I was about ready to abandon the blog as coopted by the military-industrial complex.

    But doesn’t the Hacker Credo have some bit in there about using military-industrial technologies? Something about how it’s not safe for only the elite to be familiar with these dangerous technologies? Wasn’t that our excuse to say using computers is cool?

    I don’t like it. I don’t like the idea of making something that DARPA is going to use to kill people. But at the same time, they won’t trust us not to introduce small flaws to sabotage their vehicles, so they’re probably not going to use them. If they’re not going to use them, then their goal is probably just to disseminate their ‘IFAB’ thing and ‘META’ programming language.

    If that’s the case… shouldn’t we be aware of those things?

    (I don’t speak for my entire lab in this post)

  11. First off, the military vehicles are nothing more than reinforced, over-sized, primitive vehicles. Second, I have designed countless ways to redesign vehicles that will NOT use fossil fuel and Will run longer than a single tank of fuel on any vehicle the military has. My engines are a lot more powerful and a hell of a lot smaller. If DARPA is really serious about creating ADVANCED military transport, they can contact me. I am willing to make a deal.

  12. @Daley, last I checked we were the ones dropping bombs on wedding parties of innocent people. Because someone attacked you, you do not have the right to go marauding around the world.

  13. lol at all these hate filled comments, ye its irisonsible to crowd source for a killing machine tho that aint what there looking for, i but those of us that have worked on heavy weight robots to kill other heavy weight robots have built more dangerus things than there asking for

    chillax ^_^

  14. @Alex: “Oh man, so much hate against DARPA. It’s not like they invented the internet or anything. Or the fact that all military tech trickles down to civilian tech.”

    Then why don’t we, as hackers, aim directly for civilian and bypass the war stuff altogether? If it’s us who’re going to do it anyway.

    Wait.. Isn’t that more or less what we’re supposed to be doing anyhow?

    “Darpa wants you to make a golf cart.” Yeah, a golf cart they can attach weapons to (or, more realistically, get ideas from to then build their own weapon version).

    I understand perfectly the need for defense equipment including killing machines, and I would gladly help (even a foreign gov’t as I’m not American) *if* it was actually used strictly to defend the population.

    The problem is that “defense” equipment is seldom used for actual defense in the long run.
    It always ends up being used to protect political interests, steal other people’s junk, impose your ideologies, or just plain flex your peen. (Even the internet is slowly ending up that way). I’ll not help with that no matter how indirectly.

    My $.01½.

  15. Sounds like there are three choices:
    1. build technology that kills people, benefit from civilian applications and global power
    2. don’t build technology that kills people, get your stuff taken by nations that do
    3. live in a nation that does 1. but bitch a lot, disregard how fucked anyone that does 2. is


  16. Where is option 4?

    4) Bypass tech designed for killing people and just make ethical tech

    People seem to be trying to make the argument that it’s useful because DARPA made the internet and so on.

    Could the internet only have been invented by DARPA? Military tech eventually becoming civilian tech doesn’t mean it’s justifiable because that doesn’t imply that it can ONLY come from military applications.

    Plenty of amazing things have been invented without needing some initial military version. I think that the space program actually gave us more useful tech than the military.

    The ends don’t justify the means if there’s more than one option for the means.

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