DARPA plans early transition of AVM portfolio to defence industrial base


AVM power pack

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is planning to accelerate transition of its adaptive vehicle make (AVM) portfolio to the defence industrial base ahead of original schedule.

The transitioning of AVM portfolio for continued research, development, refinement and propagation is scheduled to take place through the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), planned for launch in 2014.

One of the three institutes within the US President's National Network for Manufacturing and Innovation, DMDII will focus on the development of novel model-based design methodologies, virtual manufacturing tools and sensor and robotics-based manufacturing networks.

The AVM portfolio of programmes seeks to develop revolutionary approaches for the design, testing and manufacturing of complex defence systems and vehicles, at shortened development timelines.

DARPA programme manager army lieutenant colonel Nathan Wiedenman said collaboration with DMDII may expand the number of active participants in AVM technology development and also help extend the potential application of AVM research to non-military domains.

"DMDII offers the best possible chance for AVM technology to successfully transition to industry."

''Sitting at the crossroads of government, industry and academia, DMDII offers the best possible chance for AVM technology to successfully transition to industry, to the ultimate benefit of soldiers, as quickly as possible,'' Wiedenman said.

The move has come after initial test results of AVM's fast, adaptable, next-generation ground vehicle (FANG) 1 Challenge, confirmed that the AVM prototype design tools can produce viable designs, which can be correctly and rapidly built by its manufacturing tools and processes.

Wiedenman said the FANG 1 design and build experience reduced the adoption risk of the most-developed AVM technology, ensuring the agency that the elements were ready to transition outside the agency.

''In addition, current AVM performers will continue development of several research areas this year - involving system behaviour verification tools, manufacturability analysis and design completeness - before transitioning these as well,'' Wiedenman said.


Image: the power pack resulting from DARPA's FANG 1 Design Challenge undergoes testing. Photo: courtesy of DARPA.

Defence Technology