U.S. Marine Corps Looks to Co-create Modular Logistics Vehicles and Unmanned Cargo Delivery System

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Company Lead by Former Marine Aligns with USMC for Innovation Challenges

The Slog is a 6-wheeled electrically powered support vehicle. The primary goal of the design was to create something that was easy to manufacture, simple to maintain, compact but capable of storing plenty of cargo, and of course fast.

The SLOG was the 1st Place winner of the concept design phase of the Modular Logistics Vehicle Challenge

“This is about improving the lives of those who serve in the Marines by bringing customized solutions that improve day-to-day duty experience,” said John B. Rogers, Jr., chairman and CEO of LM Industries, Inc.

The U.S. military has long been exploring the idea of innovation and today the U.S. Marines Corps and San Francisco-based, co-creation platform Launch Forth announced a partnership to co-create products through design challenges that meet a wide range of logistical missions.

The first of several challenges are now live and focus on the design of modular logistics vehicles that serve a multitude of operations as well as an unmanned cargo delivery system to improve the operations and well-being of servicemen and women. The challenges will rely on innovative solutions designed and delivered by Marines, for Marines.

At the helm of the projects is former Marine, John B. Rogers, Jr., chairman and CEO of LM Industries, Inc., the parent company of Launch Forth and Local Motors. Local Motors is well known for its breakthrough products, including the world’s first co-created production vehicle, the Rally Fighter, the world’s first 3D-printed car, the Strati, and, most recently, a low speed, self-driving shuttle called Olli, powered by IBM Watson technology. Launch Forth is the latest offering from LM Industries, Inc., one of the world’s most innovative companies and pioneer in the open-innovation and advanced manufacturing space.

Since its inception in 2007, Local Motors was among the first companies to work with the military on co-creating military vehicles and now that LM Industries, Inc. has created Launch Forth, Rogers is again prioritizing this initiative.

“This is about improving the lives of those who serve in the Marines by bringing customized solutions that improve day-to-day duty experience,” said Rogers. “In the aftermath of WWII, our country rightsized equipment development to count on industry in a way that made sense at the time. Bu, it came at a cost of disengaging our Marines with the equipment they most needed. Today, we use the power of the internet and digital manufacturing to change that paradigm and engage our Marines with equipment solutions that are faster to the fight and more on target when they get there. This effort is ultimately intended to save lives and increase effectiveness.”

The Modular Logistics Vehicle (MLV) project will result in the design of a new modular vehicle system that meets a range of logistical missions. Through concept and technical design, challenge participants will work to design a new vehicle that allows for modular adjustments to improve the Marine experience and their corresponding operations. Use cases could range from personal movement, mechanical repair, construction and administrative support. The project comprises two parts: concept design, which recently closed for submissions, and technical design, which closed March 25. The Marine Corps will choose the winning design on April 23, followed by proof of concept and prototyping stages. Seven winners will receive a total of $10,000 in prizes for the design challenge, and eight winners will receive more than $40,000 in prizes for the technical challenge.

Similarly, the Unmanned Cargo Delivery project focuses on improving the safety and efficiency of moving cargo for Marines across areas all over the world. Delivering supplies on the battlefield can be one of the most routine activities a Marine does. A small unmanned cargo delivery system will save lives and could operate on land, air, sea, underwater or even underground. It will be critical to quickly deliver small packages that can seamlessly transit these diverse terrains. The project is now open to post brainstorms. The first design challenge will open on March 26th, 2018. Seven winners will receive a total of $10,000 in prizes.

“The Marine Corps has a great history of co-creation, but in a very analog sense. Even going back to WWI and WWII, many of our most impactful capabilities were born from teams of diverse Marines, engineers and business innovators, all continuously experimenting with each other to come up with great solutions,” said Capt. Chris Woods. “When we saw what we could do with Launch Forth and their methodology, we knew there was incredible opportunity to bring ourselves into the digital era and also to create new partnerships among a global crowd of innovators. We're excited about the potential that Launch Forth offers for the Marine Corps - the ability to expose imaginative new solutions to help us accomplish globally deployed missions. Launch Forth has a proven track record of developing these types of solutions with many other partners, and we think this demonstrates the effectiveness of their team and approach.”

In 2011, Rogers’ Phoenix-based company Local Motors built FLYPmode from scratch in less than four months and unveiled it to President Obama before delivering it to the military’s mad-science division in Virginia. The company also worked with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), The U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) and launched ArmyCoCreate.com, which was an experimental website designed to let soldiers, designers and engineers collaborate on identifying solider requirements and designing prototypes to address them.

“We're excited to see some new concepts for how we can tackle some of the age-old problems that the Marine Corps has been faced with,” said Wood. “We want to take those concepts and build them into usable solutions that we can rapidly adopt across our entire Corps. If this proves effective, we'd like to be doing this with more and more challenging problems.”

The U.S. Marine Corp challenges are run on San Francisco-based Launch Forth, an enterprise-level product design platform powered by a robust co-creation community of 185,000 designers, engineers and solvers. Using open innovation to accelerate the product development process, Launch Forth allows people everywhere the opportunity to collaborate with minds from around the world, team up to work together to solve perplexing issues, compete for prizes by submitting their own ideas, models and solutions while also building their professional reputation.

For more information about the Modular Logistics Vehicle and Unmanned Cargo Delivery projects, visit LaunchForth.io.

About Launch Forth
Launch Forth is a SaaS (software as a service) platform for product design powered by a robust community of designers, engineers and solvers. As the latest offering from LM Industries, Inc., Launch Forth harnesses the speed and potential of crowdsourcing and co-creation to bring breakthrough products to market quickly with a shared community of innovators from around the globe who collaborate on ideas, solve problems and create solutions for challenges both large and small. This community powered platform pairs design thinking with open innovation and accelerates the product development process for well-respected global giants like HP Inc., Local Motors, General Electric Co. and Airbus. Learn more at LaunchForth.io.

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