Challenge for the Air Force Cargo Transporter Project

Challenge: Air Force Cargo Transporter Challenge

Brief for Air Force Cargo Transporter Challenge


Air Force Mechanics spend more than half of their day traveling across the tarmac-- assessing the broken aircraft on the tarmac, checking out tools from the toolroom (a list of tools can be found in the ignition kit), picking up supplies from the stockroom, checking the inventory of refurbished parts in the machine shop, and disposing of broken parts in the scrapyard. Unlike commercial companies whose airplanes are housed and fixed in a single hanger, Air Force Mechanics cover a lot of ground to complete a repair job between trips to the tarmac, tool room, stock room, machine shop, and scrapyard. The Air Force Cargo Transporter is intended to support these Mechanics by reducing the time they spend gathering tools, transporting parts, looking up documentation, and checking all the boxes that are needed to complete maintenance requests.


This AV transporter needs to be versatile enough to accommodate a variety of tools, parts, and specialized equipment. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the Air Force Cargo Transporter design will be built using the running gear and strut towers of Olli. We’re asking you to build on the framework of our signature shuttle by changing the form factor and interaction concepts to meet the needs of Air Force Mechanics.


Go check out the requirements for additional information.


Judge's favorite for future forward design
Judge's favorite for usability
Judge's favorite for adaptability

Requirements for Air Force Cargo Transporter Challenge

Ignition Kit File Downloads



We’re looking to support Air Force Mechanics in getting the tools and parts they need to maintain and repair aircrafts.


DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS -- As you discover and design, consider how your solution would:

  • Intuitively interface with all potential users-- Mechanic, toolroom manager, stockroom manager, and the machine shop manager?

  • Seamlessly integrate with current toolroom procedures? (Tools are generally checked in and out, like books at a public library, with oversight by a toolroom manager. Note that this procedure is not standardized across Air Force bases.)

  • Ensure that the correct tools and parts are available to the Mechanic at the right time, and that the Mechanic knows how to conduct the repair?

  • Hold tools and parts in place during transportation to and from the toolroom, stockroom, machine shop, scrapyard, and tarmac? And do so within the weight budget of the running gear?

  • Support the Mechanic in doing their job correctly, efficiently, and safely?

  • Be built and operated cost-effectively, with appropriate materials and by rapid manufacturing methods? (The more cost-effective your design, the more Air Force bases that can have this AV to support their Mechanics.)


DESIGN REQUIREMENTS -- Your concept must adhere to the following design requirements:

  • Cargo: must be kept organized, safe and secure from inclement weather on the tarmac, but easily accessible for the Mechanic. Your design must include the following cargo:

    • Tools (see ignition kit for examples): each tool is generally 1 lb or less and is handheld in size. Small toolboxes are generally 5-15 lbs and 1 ft W x 2 ft L x 1 ft H. Portable toolchests can be up to 80 lbs and 2 ft x 3 ft L x 4 ft H.
    • Parts: replacement bolts, nuts, washers, screws, rivets, fluid lines, connectors, o-rings, etc. Parts are generally small, and the total weight of parts needed is typically under 20 lbs.
    • 1 person (a steward who ensures safe operation until the autonomous capability is qualified)
    • Wiring harnesses: 1-50 lbs
  • Dimensions are described in detail in the ignition kit (download a free JT viewer), but the Olli interior is generally 6.8 ft L x 4.9 ft W x 6.6 H (and remember that you may work beyond the strut towers in this challenge).

  • Allowable weight for your design, including all cargo: 1600 lbs

  • Operational environment: outdoor on the tarmac and in covered areas in hangars; flat, paved surfaces; low speeds (max speed of Olli is 25 mph)

  • A workspace for the Mechanic to conduct the repair inside the AV, which may include common handheld tools (e.g., soldering iron, riveting equipment, cutting tools) and their respective charging stations

  • The running gear (drivetrain, battery system and drive-by-wire kit), strut towers, and autonomy kit (autopilot functionality, sensors, motor control, and steering actuators) will be the same as on Olli, so you don’t need to include these in your design


WHAT YOUR DESIGN IS NOT -- Your solution should go above-and-beyond these examples!

  • A droid that does the repair on behalf of the Mechanic

  • A roving robotic toolbox


OPTIONAL DELIVERABLE CONSIDERATIONS -- While not required, these optional inputs are considered an added bonus and will be reviewed by the judges:

  • Fully detailed use cases for your concept. What are the common categories of users (Mechanic, toolroom manager, stockroom manager, etc.), how are they using your solution, and where is your solution being utilized most?  

  • Imagine a future state of the toolroom and stockroom. What do these futuristic spaces look like, and how would Mechanics get the tools and parts they needed at the right time and place? How could your current solution quickly and easily adapt to these futuristic environments?

  • CAD deliverables: See “Resources” below for links to free CAD software and tutorials!

  • Materials specifications and manufacturing methods for your solution




Our expert judges will be reviewing your entry for the following criteria:

  • Capability of executing challenge scenarios: How well has your design and narrative met and succeeded in solving for the design requirements? Additional consideration will be given to those who also solve for the optional deliverables within their design.

  • User-friendliness: How intuitive is your design? Does your concept provide a smooth user experience?

  • Cost effectiveness: Does your design take into account cost-effective materials and build methods?





Entries must be in English, in PDF report format, no more than 20 pages and should contain the following information and elements:  

  • Executive summary

  • Key specifications (height, width, curb weight, etc.) and significant design elements that are integral to the efficacy of your entry

  • Drawings, including identification of significant design elements (such as how tools and parts are held in place during transport, how your solution interfaces with the toolroom manager, etc.)

  • Narrative description of how your proposed solution works and the scenarios it solves

  • Note any specialized technologies, materials, or fabrication processes that are key to the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of your device



  • Annotated imagery (JPEG or PNG of at least 1920x1080) including isometric and third-angle (top, side, and plan) on a transparent background

    • Please note: PNGs are preferred, but we will also accept JPEGs.



  • Free access to Siemens Solid Edge software for Launch Forth community members

  • Launch Forth also has a library of SIemens Solid Edge tutorials

  • Background information, and further reading here

  • When possible we recommend teaming, here is a brief How to team up with other Solvers.


Challenge Terms and Conditions

Entry list for Air Force Cargo Transporter Challenge

Challenge Discussion for Air Force Cargo Transporter Challenge