Audi will participate in the international Google Lunar XPRIZE competition that aims to bring a rover to the surface of the moon. For that the German brand is already working on the Audi lunar quattro.
This space travel competition is organized by engineers and commercial companies from around the world and features $ 30 million in prizes. The rules state that the lunar rover must be able to travel at least a minimum distance of half a kilometer above the Moon, and transmit high-resolution images and videos to Earth.
The lunar vehicle will be launched into space at the end of 2017 aboard a rocket that will have to travel 380.000 kilometers to the Moon. The trip will last five days and, according to the estimates of the scientists, will cost approximately 24 million euros. The goal is to land in an area north of the lunar equator, near the point where the Apollo 1972 spacecraft landed in 17 on NASA's last manned mission to the Moon.
In this region, according to Audi, temperatures fluctuate enormously up to about 300 degrees Celsius; when the sun shines, the variations are up to 120 degrees Celsius, due to the lack of atmosphere.
The team of scientists that Audi supports is headquartered in Berlin, and they are the only German participants. Its prototype lunar rover has already been recognized with two "Milestone" awards, which carry a financial contribution of $ 750.000.
Many of the components of the lunar rover are made of high-strength aluminum, and its weight is 35 kilograms. During development the weight will be further reduced through the use of magnesium and design modifications, although the vehicle could be increased in size.
A steerable solar panel captures sunlight and the electricity it generates powers a lithium-ion battery that powers motors on the axles of each of the four wheels, which can individually rotate 360 degrees.
The theoretical maximum speed is 3,6 km / h, but the most important thing on the irregular surface of the Moon are the off-road qualities of the vehicle and the safety of its navigation systems.[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe7x2eeRwvU[/embedyt]
Two stereo cameras that allow detailed 3D images to be obtained are mounted on a mobile platform located at the front of the vehicle. A third camera will be used to study materials and also to generate high-resolution panoramic images.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE started with 34 teams, of which 16 are currently maintained.