Adaptive Vehicle Make

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Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) is a portfolio of programs overseen by DARPA, of the United States Department of Defense. AVM attempts to address revolutionary approaches to the design, verification, and manufacturing of complex defense systems and vehicles. The three primary programs are META, Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits (iFAB) and Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG GV) programs. Many components of the program leverage crowdsourcing and will be open source and the ultimate intent is to crowdsource a next generation combat vehicle.[1] The program is managed by Nathan Wiedenman under DARPA's Tactical Technology Office.[1] A Proposer's Day was held and several Broad Agency Announcements released on 7 October 2010.[1][2]


A frequently cited criticism of the DoD is the expensive and often inefficient way that it buys and builds new things. The scope of this process can be seen in the Integrated Defense Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics Life Cycle Management Framework. One of the big challenges associated with these processes is the craftsmen-like nature of building these complex cyber-mechanical systems. A typical approach is to break the system into subsystems and have separate teams embark on building the individual subsystems and optimize them for Size, Weight, and Power. Once the subsystems reach a reasonable level of development, an integration effort takes place to tie the subsystems together. The system is then tested against requirements which are almost never met on the first integration-testing cycle. The steps will then be iterated until the system meets its requirements.

This is a costly approach, especially compared with something like chip production. Intel, for instance, has an excellent track record in getting systems right in the design phase so that extensive testing and integration are not needed. This "correct-by-construction" methodology is powerful and would not be possible without high-level design languages to support validation and verification. The goal of the AVM program is to move to this model for building large, complex, heterogeneous cyber-mechanical systems for increased cost and schedule efficiencies.


The goal of META is to analyse interactions between components and provide verification and validation (V&V) of designs without prototyping in order to shorten development time. META will develop new languages or language extensions (Generic Modeling Environment and CyPhyML) that encapsulate sufficient complexity to compile a component library, context library, and manufacturing library for this type of analysis and certification. META I began in mid-2010 and is scheduled to last 15 months. META II begins in late 2010 and lasts 12 months. An infantry fighting vehicle library will be compiled in late 2011 and will continue for 1.5 years.[2]


A series of solicitations to build the Component, Context, and Manufacturing Library (C2M2L, pronounced "camel") are being introduced. The first of these will be introduced in mid-2011 and will be focused around drivetrains. Labeled C2M2L-1, the draft BAA is under development by the program office which is soliciting remarks from participants at all levels, including a live IRC session using the #avm channel on freenode.

Component models are straightforward to understand but a context model refers to the physical environment that the design lives in. This includes characteristics such as the expected terrain morphology and climate properties such as temperature and humidity.

Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits[edit]

DARPA concept image

Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits (iFAB) attempts to design a manufacturing facility that can fabricate vehicles and can be reconfigured to manufacture other systems. The facility would be capable of manufacturing the FANG vehicle.[2] iFAB looks to lay the groundwork for development of a foundry-style manufacturing capability – taking as input a verified system design specified in an appropriate metalanguage – capable of rapid reconfiguration to accommodate a wide range of design variability and specifically targeted at the fabrication of military ground vehicles.

Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle[edit]

DARPA concept image

Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle is a portfolio of three loosely related projects.[1]

Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle

The Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG GCV) attempts to crowdsource the design of an infantry fighting vehicle culminating in prototypes. Participants will use the META metalanguage with the option to use Vehicleforge.[jargon][2]

The program occurs in three phases. The Mobility/Drivetrain Challenge lasts three months and begins in 2013. A prize of $.5–1 million will be awarded for the winning design. The Chassis/Integrated Survivability Challenge lasts three months and begins in the middle of 2013 subsequent to the Mobility/Drivetrain Challenge. A prize of $.5–1 million for the winning design(s) will be awarded. The third challenge, the Total Platform Challenge lasts six months and begins in early 2014.[2] A prototype will be completed that would be eligible for consideration for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle program.[3][4]

The vehicle will be capable of amphibious transport and will have requirements similar to the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle program.[4] The vehicle design would be open source.[1]

In April 2013, DARPA awarded US$1 million to a three-man team of designers for its drivetrain for the Marine ACV. The team, Team Ground Systems, used the online design tools and open-source code provided by DARPA to put together a proposal that won for system performance and manufacturability. 1,000 other competitors ultimately participated in the contest. The design now must be validated for manufacturability feedback, foundry configuration, and instruction-generation tools, then tested and evaluated. DARPA will award a $1 million prize for a hull design and $2 million in 2014 for the complete vehicle design.[5]

DARPA is not proceeding with FANG 2 or 3 Challenges as originally planned. Open source challenges had received huge enthusiasm from the public, but military designs require specific engineering qualifications and the use of sensitive materials that must be kept out of the public domain. In February 2014, DARPA began transitioning AVM into the defense and commercial industry through the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) effort, which is to be a national resource to accelerate innovation in digital manufacturing.[6][edit]

The program will attempt to provide the necessary infrastructure for sharing design files among distributed design teams. Similar approaches in software have proven very successful for collaboration and innovation, such as the "clone-and-own" paradigm commonly used on sites like and will be built on a 12-month contract cycle starting in mid-2011 and will have a minimum additional three years of support. All resultant infrastructure components will be released under an open source license.

Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach (MENTOR)[edit]

Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach (MENTOR) facilitates collaboration among high school-aged students. MENTOR will provide materials for high school-aged students to utilize. Up to 1,000 3D printers will be distributed. Schools will compete in prize challenges for design of moderately complex systems. The effort begins in 2011 and will attempt to reach 10 schools in its second year, 100 schools in its third, and 1,000 schools in its fourth.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Adaptive Vehicle Make". 28 October 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM)". 7 October 2010. p. 39. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Adaptive Vehicle Make". 7 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM)". Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (22 April 2013). "This Is the Million-Dollar Design for Darpa’s Crowdsourced Swimming Tank". Wired. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  6. ^ DARPA Begins Early Transition of Adaptive Vehicle Make Technologies -, 6 February 2014
  7. ^ "Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM)". 7 October 2010. p. 38. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 

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