The Department of Defense is putting out a call for tank design. It’s offering an initial one million dollars to draw the blueprints for a new amphibious fighter. The software for the challenge was crafted at Vanderbilt.
A team of engineers, scientists, and graduate students at Vanderbilt created a program called VehicleFORGE. It allows people to create virtual vehicles and the parts they’re made of, right down to the screws. Then, it analyzes the forces acting on those vehicles to make sure they actually work. The FANG contest or Fast, Adaptive, Next-Generation Ground Vehicle, will allow anyone to try their hand.
Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Wiedenman says the while DOD has its own engineers and contracts out to large firms it’s looking for more creative options.
“Now, I’m not saying that just anyone can design a complex system; it takes a significant amount of training and skill. But, there are a lot of people out there with those skills who don’t happen to work for that handful of large companies.”
The Department of Defense will release the code to the Vanderbilt software at noon today. Contestants will begin by working on mobility and drive train and eventually the full vehicle design. The competition is scheduled to finish up in 2014.
A detailed video about the different rounds of the FANG challenge can be seen here: