DARPA taps 8 organizations to develop futuristic armored cars

DARPA has announced that it awarded contracts to eight organizations under its Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program. The program seeks to produce ground-based armored vehicles that are able to withstand modern weapons but that reverse the trend of increased weight and other issues that affect mobility and speed. The contracts are going to Carnegie Mellon University, Southwest Research Institute, SRI International, and more.

DARPA first announced the GXV-T program in August 2014, saying it wanted technology that would lead to armored fighting vehicles for future combat — the vehicles will be faster, more mobile, and cheaper to produce. Now, more than a year later, DARPA has given the following eight organizations contracts for developing the technology:

Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Honeywell International Inc. (Phoenix, Ariz.)

Leidos (San Diego, Calif.)

Pratt & Miller (New Hudson, Mich.)

QinetiQ Inc. (QinetiQ UK, Farnborough, United Kingdom)

Raytheon BBN (Cambridge, Mass.)

Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, Tex.)

SRI International (Menlo Park, Calif.)

The program is focusing on four areas: "Radically Enhanced Mobility," "Survivability through Agility," "Crew Augmentation," and "Signature Management." These areas include things like producing a vehicle able to travel in off-road conditions, autonomously navigate around threats while keeping passengers safe, assisting with situational awareness, and more.

DARPA Program Manager Maj. Christopher Orlowski:

We're exploring a variety of potentially groundbreaking technologies, all of which are designed to improve vehicle mobility, vehicle survivability and crew safety and performance without piling on armor. DARPA's performers for GXV-T are helping defy the 'more armor equals better protection' axiom that has constrained armored ground vehicle design for the past 100 years, and are paving the way toward innovative, disruptive vehicles for the 21st Century and beyond.