Collaboration with academia drives Soldier innovation at TARDEC
By Amanda Dunford, TARDEC Public AffairsSeptember 16, 2014
Since 2012, TARDEC's Soldier Innovation Workshops have been bringing together active-duty Soldiers of various ranks and backgrounds with transportation design students from the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit and engineers from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to develop innovative concepts and designs for future ground combat vehicles.During the December 2013 workshop at the Detroit Arsenal, CCS design students created more than 175 ideations/drawings for a concept vehicle called the 'Early Entry Combat Vehicle'. On Sept. 12, students and faculty from CCS presented TARDEC with 3D models of the three top designs during a small ceremony in the TARDEC lobby where the models will be on display. Research concept models like these, help spawn new ideas and initiate creative discussions among TARDEC associates that drive innovation and help inform the ground vehicle community.TARDEC's Craig Effinger, Research & Technology Integration Project Manager, kicked off the ceremony by explaining the importance of the unique partnership between CCS designers, Soldiers and TARDEC engineers. "Combining the talent and creativity of the CCS students with the experience of the Soldiers, Soldier Innovation Workshops have proved their value by giving TARDEC engineers an opportunity to think outside the box and envision the art-of-the-possible," Effinger explained.TARDEC has received hundreds of ideations from the Soldier Innovation Workshops and has used many of them in briefings to senior leaders. The fresh ideas of the students combined with the real-world experience of Soldiers, most of who are returning home from recent combat deployments, helps ensure these eye-catching futuristic designs also have features designed to address current capability gaps."TARDEC is utilizing the commercial art and industrial design skills of the College for Creative Studies as a tool to actually illustrate the creative concepts and new ideas of the Innovative Solutions teams," Dr. Paul Rogers, TARDEC Director stated. "CCS designers have provided Soldiers with the opportunity to make a difference in reshaping and building future ground systems."TARDEC and CCS continue to expand their collaboration beyond the three-day workshops. "TARDEC's support for a Soldier Innovation themed semester studio session at CCS provided our design students the resources to build the 3D models that now sit in the TARDEC lobby," said Tom Roney, CCS Transportation Design Professor. During the 15-week course, TARDEC engineers met regularly with CCS students to review the progress on the designs and mentor the students. "The addition of 3D models makes the designs seem more real, and gives you a better sense of what can be done," said Roney. Stay informed through TARDEC's external and social media websites on what happens next with TARDEC and CCS.Headquartered at the U.S. Army Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich., TARDEC is a major research, development and engineering center for the Army Materiel Command's Research, Development and Engineering Command, and is an enterprise partner in the TACOM LCMC.