Toyota joins space race with plan for self-driving lunar rover

Toyota joins space race with plan for self-driving lunar rover

Instead of a family sedan, the vehicle manufacturer is making a pressurized self-driving rover to cruise the lunar surface.

The rover will land on the moon before the humans get there and travel over the surface to meet them, Endgadget reports.

The cabin would be pressurized for the astronauts on the lunar mission, and the fuel cell technology would provide a cruising range of more than 6,000 miles to explore Earth's moon.

Toyota is an off-road specialist brand that manufactures and sells more 4x4 vehicles globally than any other auto company, so it was the logical choice for the new moon rover, or should we say "Moon Cruiser". He said, "At JAXA, we are pursuing worldwide coordination and technological studies toward Japan's participation in global space exploration".

"It is the greatest joy for engineers to be involved in projects on the surface of the moon".

"Through our collaboration with Toyota as the starting point, we can further expand the resources of "Team Japan" in the continued pursuit of worldwide space exploration", Wakata says.

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Toyota said its automated driving technologies and fuel-cell know-how should enable the rover to travel more than 10,000 kilometers on the moon's rough surface. In the future, companies will likely work to develop concepts and production vehicles for their "home planet".

"Through our joint studies going forward, we would like to put to use Toyota's excellent technological abilities related to mobility, and we look forward to the acceleration of our technological studies for the realization of a manned, pressurized rover", Yamakawa continued. And I think that coming back alive is exactly what is needed in this project.

The rover is still in the conceptual stage, but an illustration in the news release showed a six-wheel vehicle that somewhat resembled an armored personnel carrier.

The original manned moon rover was the Boeing LRV (Lunar Roving Vehicle), which was used during the Apollo space missions in the early 1970s.

Toyota wants to take its vehicles to the moon. To take up such a challenge, we believe it is important to gather our country's technological capabilities and engage as "Team Japan".

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