3D Robotics

3689408512?profile=originalHoly crap. DARPA has just announced a project to use the DIY Drones model for the future of military UAVs. Called UAVForge, which is already up and running (although it crashes Firefox on my machine), it is described in the official request for proposals like this:


This initiative aims to produce a small, affordable, and easy to operate unmanned air vehicle capable of persistent perch and stare surveillance. The successful offeror will empower a diverse community of innovators and emergent design teams by providing manufacturing capabilities and assessments and producing up to 15 units of the winning design. The UAVForge initiative will employ a collaboration website and a fly-off competition, both developed and administered for DARPA/TTO by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Atlantic (SSC Atlantic), Charleston, SC.


Here's a conceptual video:


Many more details are in the full pdf description here. It's a $2 million project, with $100,000 going to the winning designer.


Some excerpts:


Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have proven important in modern military operations and
show promise for civil applications. Portable UAVs are used by the military for reconnaissance
missions and have been used commercially for tasks such as monitoring oil and gas pipelines,
and tracking wildfires. However, the effective use of state-of-the-art systems is constrained by
cost and performance as well as high logistic support and operator skill and workload demands,
compared to more routinely employed portable military equipment, like GPS and night vision

The UAVForge initiative will use a collaboration/competition crowdsource approach to produce
a small, affordable, and easy to operate UAV capable of persistent perch and stare surveillance.
Novel manufacturing concepts and resources will empower a diverse community of innovators
and emergent teams to deliver a superior UAV system solution relative to state-of-the-art
systems. The overall objective of UAVForge is to develop an aircraft that costs $10,000 or less
per unit, can be carried in a rucksack by an individual, can fly to and perch in useful locations at
several kilometers range for periods of several hours, and provide continuous, real-time
surveillance without dedicated or specialized operators.


In this solicitation, DARPA is seeking innovative manufacturing services to facilitate the
UAVForge initiative. The selected manufacturer will support collaboration and produce the
winning design from the UAVForge competition.


UAVForge is a DARPA/TTO initiative supported by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems
Center, Atlantic (SSC Atlantic), Charleston, South Carolina, to leverage the unique potential of
crowdsourcing. SSC Atlantic will develop and maintain the www.UAVForge.net website, which
provides participants with the virtual environment and tools necessary to organize and
collaborate independent of geographic location, education, profession, or experience. The virtual
environment features collaboration tools including shared and private information spaces,
message boards, mailing lists, and other features that enable effective collaboration.


Collaboration will focus on an objective list of small UAV capabilities (Appendix 1). A series of
multimedia-based milestones (Appendix 2) will encourage the formation of ad-hoc teams around
promising solutions. These teams will develop functional design prototypes. DARPA will select,
based on published criteria and crowd/manufacturer input, the top ten designs to participate in a
fly-off competition hosted by SSC Atlantic (Appendix 3). DARPA will select one winning
design based on the results of the competition and crowd/manufacturer input. The winning team
will receive a $100,000 prize and an invitation to participate in an exclusive overseas military
demonstration exercise.


The selected manufacturer from this solicitation will provide the winning team with a subcontract to produce an initial lot of up to 15 UAVs for government experimentation. The selected manufacturer will play an integral role in the evolution and execution of the UAVForge initiative. For planning purposes, award of the manufacturing services contract will occur four months after the start of UAVForge collaboration and four months before the fly-off competition.

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  • T3

    John_NY "How the heck do you adhere to ITAR while posting on YouTube (as suggested)?"

    The whole story is that when you are about to win, you will necessarily violate ITAR and they would invalidate your prize since it would be gained by violating the laws. On the other hand they would have already your design (a small detail of it that interests them, not a whole), obtained by 'operational means'.

    Same story with a prize for Osama. By definition anybody pointing the guy, would be closer to him than to US govt and they dislike any kind of competition so they would do ANYTHING not to pay. In the robotic case you have corporacies facaded with defence agency.

  • This is weird -- I'd imagine DARPA and "Crowd Source" would be mutually exclusive due to ITAR.  In fact the "Terms of Use" (Section 14) says that participants must adhere to ITAR and whatever the "Export Administration Act" is.  How the heck do you adhere to ITAR while posting on YouTube (as suggested)?
  • This looks like a way of finding out who is capable of spying on the US military, as HappyKillmore mentioned the military are already spending a tad more than 2 million bucks on UAVs. 
  • Keep what out of the military hands?



  • Another vote then gentlemen? I vote keeping it out of military's hands.
  • Thanks for comment. What a pity you didn't understand me and you call me so... Doesn't matter. Just FIY, I didn't and I won't sign up.
  • sign up know you could be the next

    Robert Oppenheimer !!

  • This is diydrones.com. It's more workplace where your real workplace isn't important. Everyone here can be employed anywhere he wants. There were discussions here about what danger drones brings into the world and conclusion was something like "everything can be a gun in bad hands". Why then worry about what happens if I work for military if they/anyone can already now take lot of profit from work of you everyone.

    I mean, only one thing you can do freely here, is to make your own conquest and don't let them to build anything better limitted by intelectual properties...

    But if anone from here will work for military, he won't be no more allowed to poste here because of braking the "intelectual property" and I am sure contractual limitation for distribution of informatin! Take care, have FUN :-)


  • The best way for the USG to turn a public open source group into a gov controlled limited access program is to get the guys with the most input, best ideas and skills (ie; HK GCS and many more here) in their deceitful game.  Great pretext to draw out the nuts and volts from all angles.  They have probably datamined these pages since the site's inception.  Next step is classifying the ideas and cutting off the "public and open source" part of it.  Then come the non-disclosure obligations and threats of criminal charges for publication of classified info, breaking technology transfer and ITAR laws or a long list of convenient charges that would make for a bad day.  Helping filthy rich companies with alterior motives and agencies that don't like seeing this stuff within the citizen's reach is great but do beware of the possible end states.
  • Developer

    Don't know about their project and it's ultimate goals but one thing what I know is that site is rather horrible. Ok it's nice looking but heavy like h.... I turned my back for that site after 15 seconds due it's just way too heavy. Someone should teach those government webmonkeys not to use so much flash and other candies. And I'm sure that I'm not alone.


    Like Chris said "DARPA has just announced a project to use the DIY Drones mode". They should have also adapt website model too for their system to lure more users. :)


    Anyways interesting to see how it goes over there.

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