Today, the Part-Time Scientists’ lunar rover already fascinates with its highly specialized technical solutions. Now Audi is assisting to make it the Audi lunar quattro – even lighter, more versatile and with higher performance.
The Part-Time Scientists’ lunar rover, whose development has spanned many years and extensive test iterations, impresses in all technical areas with its highly specialized and de olutions. The vehicle provides its own energy: A solar panel whose total surface tailed s area measures around 300 square centimeter captures the light of the sun and converts it into electricity.
It is supplemented by a compact lithium-ion battery located centrally in the chassis; its energy must be sufficient for the 500 meterlong drive that is required by Google Lunar XPRIZE contest rules. When the sun is shining on the moon’s surface, temperatures rise to as much as 120 degrees Celsius due to the lack of an atmosphere.
The chassis is also designed for rugged duty. Double wishbone suspensions are used at all four of the wheels that can each be rotated over 360 degrees. Four wheel hub motors power the drive system – their interplay makes the rover an e-quattro. Its theoretical top speed is 3.6 km/h.
However, much more important on the lunar surface is the ability to overcome rough obstacles and to navigate reliably. Mounted to a moving head at the front of the vehicle are two cameras that acquire detailed 3D images. A third camera is used to study lunar materials and takes high-definition images.
Many of the lunar rover’s components are made of high-strength aluminum, and the rover’s total weight is 35 kilograms. In advanced development of the vehicle into the Audi lunar quattro, its weight will be further reduced by the use of magnesium and other modifications to its design, although the vehicle might grow somewhat in size. Every gram counts twice in transporting the rover to the moon – weight savings reduce the lander’s fuel reserve requirements, and they also reduce costs for the launch vehicle.
The Audi working group that is assisting the Part-Time Scientists currently consists of ten employees who represent different technical departments. In addition to lightweight design competence, they have much more know-how to offer, especially expertise related to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system and the electrical e-tron drive system. The goal here is to further improve performance by additional improvements to the electric motors, power electronics and battery.
The brand with the four rings is also providing wide-ranging assistance in testing, trials and quality assurance. Specialists from Quality Assurance will study the rover’s parts for wear using their high-tech tools and methods. The motors and electronic components of the future Audi lunar quattro must pass stress tests in climate chambers.
The Part-Time Scientists are pleased with the collaboration. “With Audi we have acquired a strong partner that will bring us a big step forward with its technological and mobility capabilities,” said Robert Böhme, founder and head of the team. “We very much look forward to future interaction and a fruitful partnership.”
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.