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Audi Eyes Moon For Its Next Great Adventure; Quattro Lunar Rovers

Audi's Quattro system will be going to new heights as it scales the mountains of the moon in 2017 as part of an effort to win the LunarX prize.
Posted: December 4, 2016 - 11:36PM
Author: Marc Stern


Some carmakers will go to any length to prove that their products are different, better. Take Audi, for example. They’ll drive their Quattro-swaggering vehicles anywhere just to show off the ability of their all-wheel-drive system.

Whether it is on the slopes or piling through four-feet of snow in a wind-whipped Great Lakes blizzard or racing down a back-country road in multi-car V-formation, Audi goes to great lengths to show off their strengths.

Quattro Goes On Quite A Road

Soon, Audi will take its Quattro system on the road, so to speak. It’s a trip with out of this world connections. The automaker is about to take on space. Its mission is to show off the Quattro system trundling up and down lunar craters.

MSN Autos noted that the German luxury maker announced last year it would be working with Part Time Scientists, a group of German experts, to win the Lunar XPrize. Google funds the prize. It promises $20 million to any independent group to land a robot vehicle on the moon. The vehicle must then:

  • Drive at least half-a-kilometer
  • Send images and video back to Earth.

Audi set its design engineering team on this problem. The result was the “Audi lunar Quattro” rover. The development team designed the vehicle from the ground up to accomplish the tasks spelled out for the Lunar XPrize. The vehicle is expected to ride to the Moon next year.

Quite An Accomplishment

Since Audi is famed for its Quattro system and its capabilities, it makes sense that it would be used on a lunar mission. Electric motors power all four driving wheels. Each motor is, in turn, connected to batteries and solar panels that will keep the charge flowing to the cells. The compact package includes high-res cameras including 3-D and 360-degree cameras. You’d expect the tech package would weigh a lot, but, Audi’s engineers put the lunar rover on a strict diet, and they came away with an entire vehicle that weighs 66 pounds.

Audi’s engineers developed a pair of lunar Quattros to make the trip. They will be part of a payload sitting nicely inside the Part Time Scientists’ ALINA landing module. ALINA is a four-legged probe capable of putting up to 220 pounds on the lunar surface. The module will be hurled into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

History Selfie Possible

Assuming everything goes as planned – there’s no reason to think otherwise – the lunar quattros will be turned loose on the Valley of Taurus-Littrow, the site of Apollo 17’s 1972 landing. And, who knows, if everything goes perfectly, Audi’s petit electric landers may be close enough to the site of the former landing so the quattro rovers may be able to take selfie’s of their big brothers, the Boeing/GM lunar rovers that toted the astronauts around the moon in 1972.