Space

Audi lunar Quattro books trip to the Moon

Audi lunar Quattro books trip ...
The Audi lunar quattro moon rover has a top speed 3.6 km/h
The Audi lunar quattro moon rover has a top speed 3.6 km/h
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The Audio lunar Quattro is scheduled to launch in 2017
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The Audio lunar Quattro is scheduled to launch in 2017
Audi lunar quattro badge
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Audi lunar quattro badge
The Audi lunar Quattro will land near the Apollo 17 site
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The Audi lunar Quattro will land near the Apollo 17 site
The Audi lunar quattro moon rover has a top speed 3.6 km/h
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The Audi lunar quattro moon rover has a top speed 3.6 km/h
Battery under a solar panel on the Audi lunar Quattro
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Battery under a solar panel on the Audi lunar Quattro
The Audi lunar quattro at the 2016 North American Auto Show in Detroit
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The Audi lunar quattro at the 2016 North American Auto Show in Detroit
Robert Böhme and his colleagues Jürgen Brandner and Karsten Becker are the brains behind a group now consisting of 35 engineers
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Robert Böhme and his colleagues Jürgen Brandner and Karsten Becker are the brains behind a group now consisting of 35 engineers
Audi experts from various different departments are providing the Part-Time Scientists with committed support to make the Audi lunar quattro fit for its journey to the Moon
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Audi experts from various different departments are providing the Part-Time Scientists with committed support to make the Audi lunar quattro fit for its journey to the Moon
The rover derives its energy from a swiveling solar panel roughly 3,600 square centimeters in size
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The rover derives its energy from a swiveling solar panel roughly 3,600 square centimeters in size
The torque sent to each of the wheels, which can rotate 360 degrees around their vertical axes, is just enough but no more, in order to prevent spin
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The torque sent to each of the wheels, which can rotate 360 degrees around their vertical axes, is just enough but no more, in order to prevent spin
On the Moon, the rover orientates itself using just four cameras
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On the Moon, the rover orientates itself using just four cameras
The rover’s weight was significantly reduced by an optimum material mix and Audi’s expertise in the field of 3D aluminum printing
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The rover’s weight was significantly reduced by an optimum material mix and Audi’s expertise in the field of 3D aluminum printing
An ultra battery serves as the buffer for the motors’ consumption spikes and drives the rover
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An ultra battery serves as the buffer for the motors’ consumption spikes and drives the rover
Wheel detail of the Audi lunar quattro
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Wheel detail of the Audi lunar quattro
Metal 3D printed wheel for moon rover mission
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Metal 3D printed wheel for moon rover mission
Printed metal wheel
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Printed metal wheel
Artist's concept of the Audi lunar quattro
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Artist's concept of the Audi lunar quattro
The Alina module used to land the Audio lunar Quattro on the Moon
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The Alina module used to land the Audio lunar Quattro on the Moon
View gallery - 18 images

In 2015, Audi went into partnership with Germany's Part-Time Scientists team to help develop the Audi lunar Quattro unmanned lunar rover for the Google Lunar X-Prize. The latest iteration of the rover and its landing craft are now undergoing extensive testing ahead of a planned visit to the landing site of the Apollo 17 mission late next year.

The lunar Quattro incorporates Audi's e-tron power technology to provide intelligent all-wheel-drive power and, according to Audi, it has had a number of significant updates. It's now 8 kg (17.6 lb) lighter at 30 kg (66 lb) thanks to "an optimum mix of materials" and the use of 3D printing to fabricate aluminum parts.

The rover has already been subjected to a series of tests, including in the Audi sun simulation chamber, which provides the extreme temperature conditions found on the lunar surface. The rover, along with the ALINA lander, which will deliver two of the Quattros to the Moon, are scheduled to undergo stress testing as well as a complete mission simulation at a Middle East location in the early part of 2017.

Audi and Part-Time Scientists plan to launch mission atop a yet to be determined rocket late next year and set down the lander and the two rovers at the Taurus Littrow region of the Moon. There the rovers will travel to the Apollo 17 landing site to examine the manned lunar rover left behind by the astronauts in 1972 using four cameras to return 3D and 360° images.

On the Moon, the rover orientates itself using just four cameras
On the Moon, the rover orientates itself using just four cameras

How close the Audi lunar Quattros can get to the landing site is open to question because the US regards all the Apollo landing sites as historic monuments with only limited access. Apollo 17 is particularly sensitive and NASA requests that all future missions keep at least 2 km away.

Audi says that along with the rovers and lander will carry scientific experiments from NASA, ESA, and Wikipedia.

Made up of 16 teams from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Hungary, Japan, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, and the United States, the Google Lunar XPrize is a US$30 million competition to encourage new space technology by having private groups build, launch, and land a robotic lunar rover on the surface of the Moon by December 2017. The rover must then travel 500 m (1,640 ft) while taking high definition images.

The Alina module used to land the Audio lunar Quattro on the Moon
The Alina module used to land the Audio lunar Quattro on the Moon

Founded in 2008 by Robert Böhme and made up of international 35 engineers, the Berlin-based Part-Time Scientists is the only German team. Audi has contributed its technical expertise and helped the team to bring other partners on board.

"We are proud that we have given the moon rover important aspects of the four rings' DNA: It is a Quattro, has an e-tron battery on board, drives in piloted mode and offers an intelligent mix of materials," says Michael Schöffmann, Head of Audi Transmission Development and Development Coordinator of the Audi lunar Quattro. "The collaboration with the Part-Time scientists is also very enriching for us: We are breaking new technological ground with the Audi lunar Quattro and can learn much about how automotive components behave in extreme conditions."

The video below discusses the thinking behind the Audio lunar Quattro.

Source: Audi

View gallery - 18 images
4 comments
Paul Anthony
Those tires appear inadequate.
Bob Flint
Seems more as if they what an Audi dealership on the moon, why not have the logo on the tires spread the word....
Chris Waddell
I agree Paul Anthony. I mean the materials are probably fairly robust, but the drive system looks severely inadequate for the Moon's rocky uneven surface. It looks like this Audi rover was meant to ride the California freeways, not the Moon. And is it just driving around? It doesn't appear to have any science modules at all.
Augure
This is ridiculous and not credible.