Audi isn't going at it alone, as they've joined forces with the Part-Time Scientists team. Together, these German engineers are working within the guidelines of the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. Whoever wins will get $30 million, but Audi is happy with putting the quattro badge where no other car brand has gone before.
“The concept of a privately financed mission to the moon is fascinating,” says Luca de Meo, Audi Board Member for Sales and Marketing. “And innovative ideas need supporters that promote them. We want to send a signal with our involvement with the PartTime Scientists and also motivate other partners to contribute their knowhow.”
When? How? Where?Audi says it expects the launch will take place in 2017. A rocket will leave Earth's gravitational pull and travel the whole 380,000 kilometers (236,000 miles) to the moon. After a five-day flight, the rover will reach the satellite's equator, landing near the 1972 sight of the Apollo 17 mission.
The quattro craft is constructed from aluminum to keep weight to a minimum. Extra electric energy is provided by a 100 Watt solar panel with 60-degree adjustability. Four electric wheel hub motors offer propulsion and thanks to their swiveling pivots will allow the vehicle to move in any direction. The theoretical maximum speed is 3.6 km/h (1.8 miles). Most importantly, slopes of over 10 degrees can be climbed.
The head at the front of the vehicle carries two stereoscopic cameras as well as a scientific camera that examines materials. This data will be sent back to Earth for examination.