Audi are joining the electric car market with the Quattro e-tron, expected in 2018, but in the meantime, they have revealed they expect SpaceX to ferry a special vehicle to the moon for them.
Also Check: Jaguar join the electric car market
It looks like Audi are getting ready to battle Tesla in the electric car market, but they still need a ride to the moon in a SpaceX rocket!
Work has been completed on the “Audi Lunar Quattro” rover, a vehicle based loosely on the forthcoming Quattro e-tron. Parts of the lunar vehicle, such as the electric powertrain have been taken from the design of the Quattro e-tron, but special additions have been made such as flexible solar panels, rechargeable batteries and high-definition cameras.
Audi developed the vehicle in partnership with a prominent group of engineers involved in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. Whilst providing the engineers with assistance and the technology, it’s also a brilliant marketing play by Audi, who haven’t had it so easy with the vehicle emissions issues of late.
“The concept of a privately funded mission to the moon is fascinating, and innovative ideas need supporters that promote them.” – Luca de Meo, Audi Board
The competition rules state that the vehicle needs to arrive on the lunar surface, travel 500 meters and send pictures back to Earth. The entrants have to be privately funded and abide by all federal laws and regulations of their own nations. The group working with Audi call themselves the ‘Part-Time Scientists’ and are permanently based in Berlin, Germany. Yesterday, the group announced a deal with Spaceflight Inc. to get the vehicle into space and on the way to the moon by late next year.
The Audi is expected to hitch a ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the 385,000 km trip
“We have been busy designing and testing our rovers, developing our transport and landing spacecraft, and now we have secured our ride to space.” – Robert Bohme, CEO of Part-Time Scientists
Not only have the group built the module, which seems like the easy part in comparison to actually delivering it safely, but they have worked extensively on ALINA, an autonomous landing and navigation module, which will be used to deliver the payload to the lunar surface. Audi only helped to develop the rover by lending 16 of their expert carmakers to the team.
ALINA will deliver 2 separate modules to the surface, both weighing around 30kg each. This, they say, increases the chance of success and offers a brilliant marketing idea. If both modules arrive and function as they were designed, they can get them to take photos of each other.
The plan is to land in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow, the famous landing site of the last rover on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission. The group will attempt to locate and take pictures of the rover. Success could net them as much as 30 million dollars from the Google’s prize fund. They do have competition though, as 4 other teams are still in the running. The competition started with 30 teams battling it out but we are now down to 5.
Will you be cheering for Audi when they take off on the back of a Falcon 9?