Say hello to Audi’s new moon robot — the Audi Lunar quattro. Audi debuted this little guy at the Detroit Auto Show last week. We actually first told you about the Lunar quattro last summer when the automaker announced it was taking part in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition to transport an unmanned rover to the moon. It started with 34 teams, and 16 groups remain today. (The winner, by the way, gets $30 million in prize money.)
The big news is that Audi says its mission to send the Audi Lunar quattro into space is going along as planned. So this thing could actually land on the moon in 2017.
Of course, Audi will not be sending an actual vehicle rocketing into space all by itself. It’s partnered with a group of German engineers dubbed the Part-Time Scientists to plant the lunar robot on the moon’s surface. It’s chosen the old landing site of Apollo 17, NASA’s last manned mission to the moon. Once it gets there it must drive at least one-half kilometer distance on the moon and transmit high-resolution images and video footage back to Earth.
The lunar rover was built using 3D printing and it’s made of titanium and aluminum. Audi will provide some of its quattro all-wheel drive technology to the effort, plus help the team out with electric mobility and piloted driving.
The Audi Lunar quattro should launch into space in 2017 on board a launching rocket and will travel more than 380,000 kilometers to the moon. The trip will take about five days.