Lexus has a hoverboard in the works, but Audi has a lunar rover. How’s that for premium-car-brand oneupmanship?
Audi is supporting a German team, calling itself the Part-Time Scientists, entered in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition — a $30 million competition to hitch a rocket ride and land a privately funded robot on the moon by the end of 2017.
To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high‑definition video and images back to Earth.
“The Moon is a treasure chest of rare metals and other beneficial materials that can be used here on Earth,” says the XPRIZE website.
“A successful Google Lunar XPRIZE would result in cost-effective and reliable access to the Moon, allowing for the development of new methods of discovering and using space resources, and in the long-term, helping to expand human civilisation into space.”
Audi says it is supporting the Part-Time Scientists with its “know-how in several fields of technology” – from quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight construction to electric mobility and piloted driving.
As a cooperating partner, Audi is also providing assistance in testing, trials and quality assurance. In addition, the Audi Concept Design Studio in Munich is revising the rover, which will be named the “Audi lunar quattro”.
“The concept of a privately financed mission to the moon is fascinating,” said Audi Board Member for sales and marketing Luca de Meo.
“And innovative ideas need supporters that promote them. We want to send a signal with our involvement with the Part‑Time Scientists and also motivate other partners to contribute their know‑how.”
Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for technical development, clinically said: “We are pleased to support the project with our know‑how in lightweight technology, electronics and robotics.”