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Flypmode wins DARPA XC2V Challenge – Click above for high-res image gallery

Local Motors is all about reaching out to the crowd and sourcing the best ideas as a team. It did just that in a new design contest, in which readers were tasked with developing a vehicle for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) XC2V Challenge.

That stands for Experimental Crowd-Derived Combat-support Vehicle, and three standout entries were chosen as finalists; Victor Garcia's Flypmode, Marc Senger's Kratos and Romain Chareyre's Sentinel.

To borrow a phrase from philospher hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes, it appears that Flypmode is the greatest. Kratos designer Marc Senger took home 2nd place and $1,500 while Chareyre's Sentinal earned 3rd place and $1,000. For finishing first, Garcia will receive $7,500 and his design will become an actual DARPA prototype. Check out the Flypmode in the gallery below, and click past the jump to read the full press release.

[Source: Local Motors, DARPA]
Show full PR text

March 15, 2011

How novel of a design of a vehicle body might a crowd produce? And how fast? That was the goal of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle (XC2V) Design Challenge, which launched on February 3. A creative, innovative design community stepped up to complete the first part of that goal.

The XC2V Design Challenge asked individuals to co-create a vehicle body design for two different missions-Combat Reconnaissance and Combat Delivery & Evacuation – and submit these concepts for vote. This competitive challenge prompted designers to push the limits of creative design. Feedback from the crowd enabled designers to incorporate novel ideas and concepts.

More than 150 design entries were received and validated. Some of the entries that rose to the top included innovations for modularity, increased visibility, unique personnel carrying strategies, optimal equipment usage, and ease of ingress and egress. The top-three entries included many of these concepts. Voting ended March 10, 2011, and the winning vehicle will become a functional concept car in June of this year. The top three design choices are:

1) The FLYPMODE – Victor Garcia (United State)

2) The KRATOS – Marc Senger (United States)

3) Style and Design Studio (France)

With winners selected using current methods -the program turns to an analysis of crowd-sourced selection. The next research question becomes, how could crowd-sourced selection contribute to the goals of Defense manufacturing? Fundamental questions remain regarding the role of diversity vice expertise in such design and selection tasks. In the coming weeks DARPA will include potential vehicle end users in alternative engagements. This follow-on study seeks more answers and may allow for a second vehicle to be built. Side-by-side evaluation between crowd-selected and end-user-selected vehicles will be conducted.

Stay tuned for more as DARPA continues its research for the best methodology to get the best products in the hands of the warfighters in the shortest time possible.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      OK so in the interest of full disclosure, I entered this competition.

      That said, I think the whole Local Motors idea is great: local sourced, enthusiast driven etc. The way they have setup to determine a "winner" however is deeply, gravely flawed.

      Here's some recent discussion on the LM forums about ways to solve this:


      Nevertheless the system currently in place does not reward site users for honest voting practices, and makes it difficult to find quality entries. Take a look through all the entries for yourselves. Some really beautiful ideas barely got 75 votes, while the winner got 145 people to vote on his design. Shouldn't there be a way to help the public make a more informed decision?

      Whats worse, is there isn't a robust way to separate honest votes for negative-minded votes to prop up a person's entry. As a result less than .4 points separated this top entry from many other ones. A winner should result in a robust score, seeing that score ranges are so narrow I don't believe Local Motors is adequately providing a fair playing field for qualified entries.

      I didn't find this particular entry to be convincing, in light of some brilliant other concepts lost in the obfuscation that is the LM voting process.

      Just read the comments on the winning design to see what i'm talking about. For the amount of money they are throwing about into these competitions, the Local Motors team could design a fair voting system that ensures that the best entries speak for themselves, without the whole system degrading into a high-school popularity contest.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Might be a fun off-roader, but I wouldn't want it for military use in any of the current combat situations. A flat underbody makes it weak in protecting people from IED's. All those windows make it weak in defending against firearms...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ditto. He drew a space frame construction to be covered by what, fiberglass, I presume? He advertizes "lightweight" but no soldier wants to travel across hostile territory in something designed to be lightweight. They need armor, specifically blast protection. The Humvee was abandoned because it could not bear the ever increasing demand for more armor protection from IEDs, specifically, the blast deflecting, very heavy, "V" shaped bottom shield.

        This thing looks, cool, but if an agressive appearance is what our soldiers need, why don't we let them drive across Baghdad in Rally Fighters?
      • 4 Years Ago
      danm soldiers are going to miss the hummve and how a company like this stays in bssines i dont get it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Busta Rhymes had to have a hand in this.

      I love it.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd have Clutch be the driver, and then maybe Ripcord in the front, and Roadblock in the back with the .50 caliber. That would teach Cobra a lesson.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There's more to come - the biggest takeaway is that DARPA is welcoming the crowd to lend insight and creativity to the vehicle creation process.

      This competition is a proof of concept, and the next steps are to openly engineer this vehicle and prototype it - all by June. That's not a lot of time, but if we succeed with DARPA, this will be huge.

      This means military men and women can share their needs in real time - and they are.

      This means anyone with an ideal solution to meet these needs can share them, and benefit.

      And together, it means DARPA will be able to develop the vehicles needed to support our military in a shorter period of time and with less money.

      All this being said - this design is just a sketch on a piece of paper, so you're all right to be skeptical.

      But then, we did do alright with the Rally Fighter. Love it or hate it, it's a real car we took from a piece of paper to production in 18 months.

      More to come!

        • 4 Years Ago
        Ariel, I think the strength of the Rally Fighter was in large part driven by the then-obscurity of the Local Motors concept.

        The winning design was justly deserved, and well judged. Later contests have descended into ugly popularity contests however. I've been following the thread discussing changes to the voting system. I'd like to see the LM model prosper and not become bogged down in issues of vanity. In light of recent contests however I'm not sure if enough is being done to combat weakness of human character to champion good design for all.

        The takeaway of DARPA's experiment with crowd-sourcing is unclear to me, given the flaws in the selection system. If a crowd can't be trusted to choose fairly, and designs are selected which may be less than ideal real money would be wasted correcting flawed concepts. The advantages of crowd sourcing would then be lost in correction and back-tracking.

        Ultimately, the Military Industrial Complex will continue to do as it pleases. If we can reduce the bureaucracy behind the crucial decision making with informed public choice, then our society benefits. If we replace the old decision making process with a new, equally flawed system then we've done nothing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I hear you. Vanity is an issue, both on our part (LM), and community member's parts - it's an issue of human nature, I suppose. I think our shortcoming has been a lack of clarity in expressing exactly how the voting process works, how a vote is weighed, and how we detect fraud.

        Our system is refined, and we are able to compensate for lapses of character. So the winner you see on the podium is indeed deserving, and we need to prove it.

        The trouble is that we have not shared exactly how the voting works. It is troubling for the world's first open source car company to not be completely open about a voting process. We need to continue to share as we have in the past.

        We were concerned we may invite members to game the system if the system was shared and made vulnerable.

        But, as we have preached in the paste, a company can make itself vulnerable if it does not share.

        So, I think you'll see more from us soon :) And I can can tell you that what you'll find is exactly what you've been asking for, barring a few awesome suggestions that you will likely see implemented.


      • 4 Years Ago
      This WON a competition? Really?
      • 4 Years Ago
      DARPA's budget continues to decline. While the Army is currently setting up proposals for the next Ground Combat Vehicles - DARPA is dreaming up the next project for Tesla to takeover.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's probably going to need a bit more engineering than some slabs of paper thin surface defining the shape. And why didn't they get the same guy who did the sketches to do the full color renderings? The sketches look good but that first slide of photo renderings looks terrible.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Go take a look at the second place entry, and tell me it didn't deserve to win. I participated in this project and did extremely well, and even though I may sound bitter (I'm not... I think there were more deserving entries than mine) I was incredibly disappointed by the way it was run. Not a good reflection on Local Motors by any means.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I came here to say the same thing, this looks like a first or second year Industrial Design presentation. Some of those rendering are just awful.
        • 4 Years Ago
        LOL! This looks like a 2nd year ID project! Autoblog, why are you covering this?! LOL!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Looks very hard to get in and out of.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Flipmode squad is the greatest!
      • 4 Years Ago
      How is the suspension suspension supposed to work? Yeah that much ground clearance is nice but the engineering is a different matter - the axles appear to terminate at the tire. I'd like to see that solution. Portal axles of that offset are not practical.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @EXP Jawa, read the contest requirements. "This proof of concept vehicle will use the GM LS3 V8 powertrain If this vehicle were to go into production, the actual powertrain would vary." The entries were supposed to focus on having a modular, lightweight body that could easily switch from carrying passengers to carrying cargo, use the Rally Fighter tube frame chassis, have good visibility, and be as light as possible to allow as much cargo as possible.
        • 4 Years Ago
        LOL - still don't see the 18" portals!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It doesn't really look there was any thought given to any engineering matters at all. Not just the suspension, but what about the powertrain, or the drivetrain, or the cooling or the electrical system (which is sure to have high demands made of it)? And then what armor or armorment?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, but packaging everything I refered to into the body & chassis means more than having a predetermined engine and basic frame design. And now that we're talking about military service, the overall package has to be far more heavy-duty than the "normal" Rally Fighter would be. That all adds up to equal a packaging nightmare. So, while this concept shows some ideas for flexible configuration and may have good outward visability, it still shows very little development going into the actual engineering & packaging of the vehicle.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There are so many things wrong, I don't see a real world version resembling this. Maybe as a vague concept for minivan-like utility it is good, but not so sure it will work in the prescribed packaging.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Also I don't know how this is going to stay lightweight with armor, as others have said.
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