Audi Supports a Team Fighting for Google's Lunar XPRIZE

Audi has announced it is supporting German team “Part-Time Scientists” in the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
Audi Supports a Team Fighting for Google's Lunar XPRIZE 5 photos
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Audi lunar quattro conceptAudi lunar quattro conceptAudi lunar quattro conceptAudi lunar quattro concept
The German company has decided to assist the Berlin-based team in their quest to send an automated vehicle to the Moon. If you’re wondering what the Ingolstadt-based carmaker wants to do on Earth’s natural satellite, we’ll have you know they want to send their Audi lunar quattro automated vehicle on a little trip.

Audi’s involvement in the project features a team of ten employees from several technical departments that will help out the Berlin-based group. The engineers from Audi will assist them in their endeavor to further develop and enhance their rover. At the same time, Audi Concept Design department in Munich is refining the form of the lunar rover.

So the engineering group that had the unfortunate inspiration of calling itself “Part-Time Scientists” will receive specialized help from Audi engineers. The plan is to develop a rocket that will travel more than 236,121 miles (380,000 kilometers) over the course of five days and that is supposed to land close to the 1972 site of NASA’s last manned moon mission, Apollo 17.

Once on the moon, the autonomous vehicle must then drive a distance of at least one-half of a kilometer (a bit over 1/4 mile) and shoot and transmit high-resolution pictures back to Earth. If any of these conditions isn’t met, the approximately $30 million prize offered by Google won’t be awarded.

The place where the Audi lunar quattro is supposed to land is near the Moon’s equator and experiences huge temperature fluctuations of around 300 degrees Celsius. The lack of atmosphere and conditions in the region change the outside temperature from 120 degrees Centigrade to -200.

Audi’s lunar rover has o maximum speed of 2.2 MPH (3.6 km/h) and features two stereo cameras to help it navigate itself using 3D images. A third camera studies terrain and materials, besides shooting high-resolution panoramic images.

The lunar rover prototype developed by the Part-Time Scientists has already received two prizes of $750,000 each. The team won these monetary awards for the optical systems on the vehicle and the development of the lunar rover itself.

Since the German premium trio of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz has always involved a healthy competition between the three brands, we can’t help wondering if the other two premium brands from Deutschland will join Google’s big Moon race.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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