Perhaps going where no Quattro has gone before, Audi will be assisting a group of engineers called Part Time Scientists for the Google Lunar XPRIZE contest. The Part Time Scientists have been developing their lunar rover for years when Audi decided to give the team a helping hand.
The team entered the Google Lunar XPRIZE contest for the chance for their technologies to be used in an upcoming lunar mission and win up to $ 1,000,000 if their rover gets chosen. Last year, The Part Time Scientists won $ 500,000 for the Mobility Subsystem Milestone Prize where they demonstrated their mobility system that allows the craft to move 500 meters after landing. The German team aims to reach the moon before the Lunar X-Prize deadline of December 31, 2016.
With the help of Audi, the Part Time Scientists will be able to improve on their lunar rover's power supply system. The lunar rover is powered by a solar panel whose total surface area measures around 30 square centimeters which captures the light of the sun and converts it into electricity. It is then supplemented by a compact lithium-ion battery located centrally in the chassis. Now called the Audi Lunar Quattro, the rover features a Double wishbone suspension on all four wheels that can each be rotated over 360 degrees. Equipped with four wheel hub motors that power the drive system, the rover also comes with Audi's e-Quattro all wheel drive system. A similar technology is being applied in the Audi A3 e-Tron Quattro.
Audi is also helping the team making the Lunar Quattro lighter by applying the company's Ultra Lightweight technology for the rover. Audi plans to use magnesium and other modifications to its design to maximize the Lunar Quattro's fuel reserves for the lunar mission. Audi is also providing assistance in testing, trials and quality assurance. Specialists from the company's Quality Assurance team will study the rover’s parts for wear and tear using their high-tech tools and methods. Audi will put the motors and electronic components of the Lunar Quattro through a stress test in climate simulations.
"With Audi we have acquired a strong partner that will bring us a big step forward with its technological and mobility capabilities. We very much look forward to future interaction and a fruitful partnership." said Robert Böhme, founder and head of Part Time Scientists.