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Systems of Systems & Integration


Beyond Modular Vehicles: A Modeling Framework for Assessing Adaptability and Costs of a Modular Vehicle Fleet

Project Summary

Case Study performed in 2014.

Contributors (TA 5): Panos Papalambros, Bogdan Epureanu, Jack Hu, Kira Barton, Kiran D’Souza, Sheng Yang, Yi Ren†, Emrah Bayrak†, Namwoo Kang†, Ingyu Lim†, William Pratt† (UM), Richard Gerth (GVSC), Mark Rupersburg (GDLS) (†Students)

graphic for modular systems case study

Whether to maintain the competitive edge in the commercial world or to maintain the dominance on the battlefield, it is critical more than ever to increase adaptability and flexibility to remain agile and responsive in rapidly changing and uncertain environments, to keep up with the fast-paced technological advancements, and to be highly cost effective while accommodating increasing complexity of ground vehicle systems.

Modularity in vehicle systems is considered by both the industry and Army to be a path to achieve this desired adaptability and flexibility and to create enduring value. This case study took this idea further by envisioning a future where not only a vehicle, but the entire vehicle fleet is modular, and developed a comprehensive modeling framework to assess fleet adaptability and cost. The considered fleet comprised vehicles with diverse functionality and specifications, assigned to complete missions modeled stochastically. The framework modeled powertrain and armor, fleet operations, and transportation, operating, acquisition and retirement costs. Resupply strategy was optimized for a limited initial inventory.

Comparisons between the simulated conventional and modular fleets across several scenarios showed that the modular fleet can improve adaptability while also lowering cost.


  • D’Souza, K., Bayrak, A. E., Kang, N., Wang, H., Altin, B., Barton, K., Gerth, R., “An integrated design approach for evaluating the effectiveness and cost of a fleet”, The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation, 13(4), 381–397, 2016.

  • Bayrak, E., Egilmerz, M., Kuang, H., Li, X., Park, J. M., Papalambros, P., Epureanu, B., “MARVEL – A Modular Vehicle Fleet Simulation Tool”, In Proceedings of the 2015 Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium (GVSETS), AUGUST 4-6, 2015.