visibility_off Bring on the Bigfoot


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.

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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.


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