The look of that vehicle isn’t the only cool thing about it: it’s also the product of a new approach to manufacturing, which has the potential to reduce the overall process by a factor a five. Rather than the usual contracting model that takes several years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (known as “DARPA”) asked a small company in Arizona, Local Motors, to fulfill the challenge in a little over four months. With only four weeks for planning, Local Motors democratized the process by receiving 162 high quality designs from hundreds of entrepeneurs and spent fourteen weeks building the car. The efficiency of the DARPA challenge reveals the potential impact of crowd-sourcing and small businesses on advanced manufacturing at the Department of Defense.
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