DETROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, MI -- Seventeen talented design students spent last semester researching military vehicles to brainstorm new fuel-efficient concepts.

In a unique partnership with the Army, students from the The College for Creative Studies in Detroit covered design principles, drawing, rendering techniques and digital modeling while working closely with engineers from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's tank and automotive center.

The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center launched the program to harnesses government, industry and academic solutions and provide the "next-generation of fuel-efficient ground vehicles," officials said.

The program involved industry partners as well with Select Engineering Services, Inc., and World Technical Services, Inc. working with TARDEC to tap a nonconventional resource for the vehicles' design:college students.

"The collaboration between WTSI, TARDEC and our Transportation Design students on the Fuel Efficiency Demonstrator is a perfect opportunity for CCS students to work in a professional environment with real-world requirements aimed at delivering a creative outcome," said Professor Mark West, Transportation Design, CCS.

TARDEC's Fuel Efficient ground vehicle Demonstrator program engaged the team of transportation design students to help develop the interior and exterior features of one of the two fuel-efficient demonstrators under development.

The students work is on display this week at the TARDEC exhibit at the 2010 Society of Automotive Engineers International 2010 World Congress at Cobo Center in Detroit.

TARDEC officials said the project produced concepts to address functional needs in the field, fuel efficiency, weight and aerodynamic principles. The three top student designs will be produced as scale models, with the top design incorporated into a demonstrator under development.

"This project has been very challenging as it requires a different approach from designing a civilian vehicle," said James Scott, CCS Transportation Design student. "Setting aside all of the fuel-efficiency challenges, this is also a great chance to help our troops."