This week, Audi revealed its new lunar rover at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, indicating the growing interest of the German automaker in the space industry. Audi has submitted its vehicle for the 2007 Google XPrize moon rover competition.
Audi has developed the rover by collaborating with Berlin-based Part-Time Scientists. Audi is determined to show off the Quattro Lunar Rover’s flawless wheel traction that has undergone tests across rough topography around the world. The aluminum vehicle is set to make its debut in 2017, and will be controlled remotely by operators on Earth. Audi engineers are helping the team to incorporate the company’s technologies such as quattro all-wheel drive, electric mobility, piloted driving and lightweight construction.
“The concept of privately financed mission to the moon is fascinating,” said Luca de Meo, a sales and marketing board member at Audi.
Audi Quattro Lunar Rover features stereoscopic cameras, four rotating cameras and all terrain wheels. Batteries in the rover can be charged through solar panels. The rover aims to land safely on the moon, cover 500 meters, and transmit images back to Earth. Since 2008, the rover has been tested in the extreme terrain of the alps by a team — consisting of scientists from Germany and Austria. About 10 Audi employees from various technical departments have been assigned to help the Part-Time Scientists, who share their e-tron drive system and quattro permanent all-wheel system expertise.
For entering the Google Lunar XPRIZE competetion, the rover must be able to travel a minimum of 500 meters across the moon, and beam back high-resolution video and images to Earth. The rover should be launched on a rocket travelling 236,121 miles to the moon and land in a target zone north of the equator of the moon by 2017. the target area is close to where Apolo 17 landed in 1971. The mission is estimated to cost $26.2 million and would take about five days.[ Source ; Via ]