Proof-of-concept effort harnesses Soldier input to design and prototype equipment
PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 6, 2014–
Local Motors announces successful outcome for Army CoCreate, a six-month proof-of-concept effort with the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF). The Army CoCreate initiative combined web-based and face-to-face collaboration to connect Soldiers, civilians and makers, in the real-time design and development of Army equipment intended to enhance warfighter performance. The centerpiece of this effort was a co-creation website developed and managed by Local Motors exclusively for REF. The goal for this effort was to engage a broad, open audience to rapidly tackle real military challenges.
Final prototype for the Army CoCreate Mobile Command Post (MCP) project. (Photo: Business Wire)
“This partnership with REF was about process not product. What we make today will not be remembered nearly as much as the change in the way we make it. The ability to drive real-time innovation and deliver actual products that improve Soldier performance in theater – when and where they need it most – is more than just an honor, it’s our duty,” said Jay Rogers, Local Motors CEO and former Infantry Company Commander with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Local Motors built, delivered and maintained the Army CoCreate platform; trained designated military and partner personnel to manage the community; facilitated two interactive Make-a-Thon events at the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) at Fort Benning, Georgia; and provided design and prototyping expertise for the featured Army CoCreate project.
The ArmyCoCreate.com Community
The Army CoCreate community grew to 1,200 active members representing a mix of active duty Soldiers, veterans, engineers, designers and students, among others. In the end, more than 160 Soldier-focused ideas were generated.
These two, week-long innovation workshops demonstrated the prototyping and build process associated with co-creation, and utilized the 3D printing capabilities and tools available in the REF Expeditionary Lab 3. Set up at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, a team of 17 Soldiers worked with community managers, online community members, and a team from Local Motors to develop a prototype for one of the more than 160 community-generated ideas.
Selected by REF leadership to be the focus of two Make-a-Thon events, the Mobile Command Post (MCP) project provided participants the opportunity to modify two 750cc all-terrain vehicles to support dismounted Soldier operations.
Feature and function modifications were made to the vehicles in order to achieve optimal performance as a Mobile Command Post. Included among these modifications were:
- Complete chassis and body redesign for mission specific use
- A quiet-run feature with increased power output and battery capacity
- Upgraded 4G-LTE communications, geo-location, and autonomous tethering suites
- Increased fuel capacity
- Personal weapon stowage platform
- New, modular seats designed to specifically support Soldiers in full combat gear
Throughout the process, civilians and Soldiers were able continuously to engage on the Army CoCreate website. This interaction with the online community, combined with the making capabilities of REF’s Expeditionary lab successfully drove project innovations at the pace of conversation, enabling a complete, fully-functional prototype to be delivered in less than 30 days.
“In the 21st Century and beyond,” Rogers concludes, “superior speed-to-battlefield is what will save lives and win wars. Our ability to empower the Soldier to directly impact his or her own performance has been evidenced in our prior work with DARPA, through this effort with REF, and will continue to evolve as we work with other branches of the United States Armed Forces.”
For more information about Local Motors and/or to request images, contact Amy Romano, Local Motors Director of Strategic Communications and Public Relations at 480-371-0575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Local Motors, Inc.
Local Motors co-creates vehicles and related components with a global community of designers, engineers, fabricators and enthusiasts. Local Motors has pioneered the online design and hardware co-creation market by making available low-cost professional tools, efficient small-scale manufacturing capabilities, and go-to-market strategies that empower hobbyist innovators and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) alike. Visit localmotors.com today to design, engineer and purchase your next vehicle innovation.
Amy Romano, 480-371-0575
Director of Strategic Communications and Public Relations