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Thursday, April 25, 2013 - April 2013 Newsletter: Current DARPA Challenges
One method by which DARPA funds projects in order to seed desired innovations is through competitive challenges. DARPA first implemented this strategy in 2004 with the creation of the Grand Challenge, in which contest teams developed unmanned vehicles to navigate a course for $1 million in prize money.

Some recent examples of these challenges include the Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG) Challenge, the Spectrum Challenge and the Robotics Challenge. The Michigan DARPA Matching Funds Program (MD.MFP) encourages Michigan public universities to partner with businesses to compete in any of these challenges by assisting with the cost. The goal is to enhance and develop technologies in Michigan to increase statewide technology transfer and commercialization.

The FANG Challenge is a design contest to create a next-generation amphibious infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). The current stage for 2013 focuses on the chassis and structural subsystems, whereas in 2014, participants can look forward to the development of a full vehicle design. Learn more details at vehicleforge.org.

The Spectrum Challenge is to demonstrate a radio protocol that can best use a given communication channel in the presence of other dynamic users and interfering signals. More information can be found at darpa.mil/spectrumchallenge.

The Robotics Challenge program is to develop ground robotic capabilities to execute complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments. The program will focus on robots that can use available human tools, ranging from hand tools to vehicles. The program aims to advance the key robotic technologies of supervised autonomy, mounted mobility, dismounted mobility, dexterity, strength and platform endurance. Visit theroboticschallenge.org for more information.

For more information on all these challenges, and many more DARPA opportunities in Michigan, please visit michigandarpa.org.
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