Called as Audi Lunar quattro, the robotic explorer will be launched into space in 2017 on-board a launching rocket. The machine will land near the original landing location of last manned lunar mission, the Apollo 17.
Developed by a privately funded German team of engineers and entrepreneurs named Part-Time Scientists, Lunar quattro receives Audi’s inputs in lightweight architecture, all-wheel drive, electric propulsion and piloted driving (autonomous driving).
To win the USD 30 million Google XPRIZE competition, the robotic explorer needs to land on the moon and traverse at least 500 metres of moon’s surface and send back high definition videos and images to the earth.
The vehicle is primarily made of aluminium and has an adjustable solar panel that recharges the on-board Lithium-ion battery pack. Each wheel is powered by an electric motor which give Lunar quattro a theoretical top speed of 3.6 km/h. Importance is given to its off-road capabilities and ability to maintain orientation.
Lunar quattro houses two stereo cameras upfront and a scientific camera to examine materials. Audi’s WALL-E (or should we call it WALL-M?) will have to brave the temperature fluctuation of up to 300 degree Celsius on the moon’s surface.
Lunar quattro’s successful completion of its mission would be a great publicity for Audi’s technical prowess.