Vanderbilt University's Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) engineers have received a contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to continue maturation of META tools for military vehicle development applications.
Under the $9.3m contract, ISIS senior research scientist and electrical engineering and computer science research associate professor Ted Bapty and research scientist and electrical engineering research associate professor Sandeep Neema will evolve the META tools as part of the agency's Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) programme.
The tools are being manufactured in collaboration with Georgia Tech University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Stanford Research Institute, Palo Alto Research Center, and Santa Anna IT Research Institute, under a $5.2m project since late 2010.
Developed through model integrated computing and cyberphysical systems engineering processes and methods, the tools enable rapid reconfiguration and analysis of the whole vehicle design, including quick addition or modification of vehicle components, generating powerful capabilities for designers.
An open-source design tool suite for creation, testing and validation of vehicle designs, META tools was extensively used along with VehicleFORGE, the university's another online collaboration platform, by more than 200 competitors to manage and submit designs for DARPA's Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG) mobility/drivetrain challenge.
Although geographically separated, the winner, a three-person Ground Systems team, could still create winning design using the collaboration tools for the challenge.
DARPA programme manager Army lieutenant colonel Nathan Wiedenman said: "The first FANG challenge has been a great experiment, and the submission of many viable, innovative designs has validated the Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) design tools and provided invaluable feedback to continue their development."
The AVM programme aims at transforming current design and manufacturing process to lower the costs and lead times of development of new military vehicles by a factor of five or more.
Image: The vehicle design proposed by Ground Systems team for DARPA's FANG Mobility/Drivetrain Challenge. Photo: courtesy of DARPA.