Innovative Army CoCreate Portal, Developed by Local Motors, Will Empower Soldiers to Refine Operational Challenges, and to Design and Prototype Solutions
PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–November 19, 2013–
Local Motors and the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) announce the development of an online platform that will connect soldiers, civilians, makers and scientists in the real-time development of solutions to enhance warfighter performance and safety. This new platform, called Army CoCreate and powered by Local Motors, will engage a broad audience to tackle military challenges.
The Army CoCreate platform and its community will provide the inspiration for at least two live prototyping workshops called Make-a-Thons. Ideas submitted to Army CoCreate that receive the most support will provide the subject matter for these events.
“We are excited and honored to be providing a platform that will give a voice to the Army’s dedicated soldiers,” said Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers. “The ability to drive real-time design and the development of solutions like the ones I needed when I deployed to Iraq as a United States Marine is extremely rewarding. Knowing that what we are developing here will provide dominant speed-to-battlefield capabilities that improve Soldier performance and increase safety in active theaters around the globe is extremely rewarding.”
The REF officially partnered with Local Motors in August 2013 to develop Army CoCreate. This proof-of-concept effort is a logical expansion of the work REF has been doing since 2002 to develop solutions and quickly get them to Soldiers in the battlefield.
“When you have a situation where you need good solutions in a time-critical manner, it is important to tap into the expertise of those closest to the problem,” said Colonel Steven Sliwa, Director of the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force. “As the rapid response capability for the U.S. Army, REF must work closely with Soldiers to understand urgent requirements and to get the right solution into the hands of the warfighter as quickly as possible.”
“Soldiers are living and breathing the fight, day-in and day-out, so they have the best ideas for new capabilities to solve their most urgent challenges,” said Sergeant First Class Adam Asclipiadis. “We need to connect those ideas to the people who can make innovations a reality.”
How Army CoCreate Works:
Army CoCreate, an online collaboration platform led by Local Motors-trained moderators, will address military challenges in a phased approach. The Army CoCreate process will have four distinct lines of effort:
1. Identify Problems. (Ideas)
Big or small, ideas are the foundation for innovative projects. Army CoCreate participants will identify specific Soldier challenges for the community to address. Community members can then vote or comment on their favorite Soldier challenge idea. The more votes an idea receives, the more likely it is to be selected as the main Army CoCreate project.
2. Suggest Solutions. (Designs)
Participants can also upload their own sketches, graphics and renderings for a specific Soldier solution. These designs can help inform the main Army CoCreate project, or inspire people who can help make the design a reality. Users can like, comment on or follow their favorite designs that may or may not be directly related to a problem identified on the ideas page.
3. Tackle a Project. (Projects)
Based on the community’s ideas, designs and feedback from the global Army CoCreate community, REF will select the main Army CoCreate project for in-depth collaboration. Site moderators will post detailed Soldier challenge information such as size, weight, power, operation and endurance guidelines; and community members will select and contribute to the part of the project that interests them most.
4. Build Prototypes. (Make-a-Thons)
In the final phase of Army CoCreate REF will demonstrate the ability to receive electronic blueprints and rapidly prototype from a forward location. The Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) Fort Benning will host two week-long innovation workshops called Make-a-Thons where the resulting virtual designs from the online community will be prototyped using 3D printing capabilities and the REF expeditionary lab. Make-a-Thons will take place December 9-13, 2013, and January 13-16, 2014.
This partnership, and the Army CoCreate proof-of-concept effort, demonstrates REF’s commitment to include the Soldier in the solution development process. The emphasis for this effort is to capture the ideas of Soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
“Right now, the Army is filled with resources, Soldiers returning home from Afghanistan rich with operational experience from that conflict. It is important to maintain institutional knowledge of what we have learned,” said Sliwa. “Though the problems addressed by the CoCreate community may not be theater-specific, we want to determine if this technique can capture lessons learned, as well as assist the Soldier in refining requirements and developing solutions.”
Membership in the Army CoCreate online community is free and open to the public. Visit ArmyCoCreate.com to join the community and help drive the next generation of soldier-focused innovations.
About Local Motors
Local Motors is a world of vehicle innovation, connecting a global community of designers, engineers, fabricators and enthusiasts to design, manufacture and market inspired vehicle solutions. Through open-source principles, Local Motors helps solve local problems, locally; makes transportation more sustainable, globally; and delivers, through distributed manufacturing, innovative co-created vehicles and components. The company’s flagship product, the Rally Fighter, is the world’s first co-created vehicle. It has been recently complemented by the 2013 introductions of the Racer custom motorcycle and Cruiser motorized bicycles.
About the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF)
The REF harnesses current and emerging technologies to provide immediate solutions to the urgent challenges of U.S. Army forces deployed globally. The Department of the Army formed the REF in 2002 to support warfighter requirements in Afghanistan, and during the past ten years, the REF has met challenges as diverse as defeating improvised explosive devices, increasing Army contingency operational energy efficiency, gathering blast effect data to better understand traumatic brain injury and improving intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance capability in austere locations. The REF enables Army units of all types, Combat, Combat Support and Combat Service Support, to rapidly adapt to changing battlefield conditions and enemy tactics. We provide immediate in-theater engineering capabilities that connect scientists and engineers with the Soldier.