On March 23 2011, the National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) presented its 2011 Ground Robotics Innovator of the Year Award to John Bares. The association presents the award to "...technical innovators whose efforts have made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge specifically for ground robotic systems."
Bares was recognized as the lead architect for the DARPA Crusher and TARDEC Autonomous Platform Demonstrator (APD) platforms. Crusher demonstrated never-before-achieved levels of mobility in a > 7-ton wheeled vehicle. Building upon the lessons from Crusher, the APD development tackled many of the FCS ARV requirements for weight, mobility, performance, size and safety. After just a 14-month development effort, APD rolled out in 2009 where it demonstrated Crusher-like mobility along with driving on-road at 80 kph—an unprecedented speed for a robotic skid-steered vehicle. The APD was also the first DoD robotic ground vehicle to have a safety system designed in concert with Army Developmental Test Command personnel. The vehicle demonstrated stressing mission scenarios that combined high ambient conditions with challenging mobility cases. APD logged several thousand kilometers in its first year across on and off-road environments.