Strategic Adaptive Vehicle Systems Feasibility Study

Principal Investigators: Panos Papalambros, University of Michigan,
Bogdan Epureanu, University of Michigan,
Faculty: Jack Hu, University of Michigan
Student/Post-doc: A. Emrah Bayrak, Mert Egilmez, Li (Gavin) Xingyu, Jong Min (Sky) Park, Heng Kuang, University of Michigan
Government: Ed Umpfenbach, Matt Castanier, U.S. Army TARDEC
Industry: Mark Rupersburg, General Dynamics Land Systems

Modular vehicle systems schematicThe value of modularity in ground vehicles to the Army and other services has been a topic of much debate for decades. There are instances of successful implementations of modularity in current ground vehicle programs of record. However, these implementations have generally been accomplished through swappable mission equipment rather than large-scale transformation of the vehicle and its core components. Concurrently, the Army Science and Technology (S&T) community has continued to demonstrate the technical feasibility of large-scale, transformative ground vehicle modularity, but the business case of modularity remains elusive. Decision support tools are needed to enable Army leadership to quantitatively assess the cost and benefits of modularity compared to currently available mission-specific (conventional) vehicle platforms.

The goal of this project is to develop modeling and simulation tools to evaluate the strategic feasibility of a modular fleet compared to a baseline fleet considering various aspects of a fleet operation including manufacturing, transportation, performance, maintenance and personnel requirements. The research considers only operational aspects of modularity assuming the technical feasibility for effective modularity is possible.

The scope of the project is a high-level modularity where a relatively small set of module types and their moderately many variants are assembled to create different kinds of modular vehicles with significantly diverse capabilities such as payload, range, vehicle cone index, etc. An equivalent conventional fleet is modeled as well. For this study, the fleet is limited to only medium and heavy tactical vehicles. Also, the modules in this study are defined to match the capabilities of the vehicles in the conventional fleet. Both a conventional and a modular fleet are simulated under the same operational scenario coming from TARDEC’s System of System Analysis Tool (SoSAT). As a result of the simulation, various fleet-level objectives are evaluated to assess the cost and benefits of modular approaches.


  • K. D’Souza, A. E. Bayrak, N. Kang, H. Wang, B. Altin, K. Barton, J. Hu, P. Papalambros, B. Epureanu, R. Gerth, "An Integrated Design Approach for Evaluating the Utility and Cost of a Fleet", Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation (Under Review, Submitted on Jan, 2015).
  • A. E. Bayrak, M. Egilmez, H. Kuang, L. Xingyu, J. M. Park, P. Papalambros, B. Epureanu, E. Umpfenbach, R. Gerth, J. Dash, D. Gorsich, E. Anderson, “MARVEL - A Modular Vehicle Fleet Simulation Tool”, Proceedings of the 2015 Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium (GVSETS), Novi, MI, Aug 4-6, 2015.