The Marines have asked us to first build a “proof of concept” based on the MLV: Refined winning design, the HAT 2.0. “Proof of concept” means that the semi-functional vehicle will utilize commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts to rapidly demonstrate key design elements that meet U.S. Marine Corps critical needs: modular, hackable, understandable, functional, and high capacity.*
Given our project timeline, the HAT 2.0 design elements, and the objectives of this build, we’ve decided to begin our build with a “burden carrier” or “passenger carrier” type of utility vehicle. Since this vehicle is for the U.S. Marine Corps, we want to use a donor vehicle that’s Made in the USA. And we want to purchase an existing or readily-produced vehicle, instead of something made-to-order or requiring a long lead time.
Here are some of the donor vehicles we considered:
To meet the Marines’ schedule, we will have to make a few critical design choices to balance function with form. For example:
Maintaining the artistic signature of the design submitted by @saintarnab by sticking with the original HAT 2.0 color scheme
Rapidly approximating the original design intent by stitching together flat sheet metal or stretch plastic with additively manufactured, organic shapes
Easing the burden on the donor vehicle and improving driveability by switching to a 4-wheeled design
Simplifying procurement of COTS parts by using a flat windshield
Weighing all of our design criteria together, we’ve decided to procure the Taylor-Dunn Bigfoot XL.
This electric utility vehicle has a 17 hp, 48 volt AC motor, GT drive and rack and pinion steering, and has a load capacity of 3,000 lbs-- enough for the administrative, personnel, construction, and personnel use cases we heard from the Marines. And a blazing high speed of 18 mph… watch out Marines, here we come!
* You may recognize that I've intentionally left off on of the six design principles from the MLV: Refined Challenge. Although the Marines also value future-forward, those design elements are out of scope for this “Proof of concept” build.