Alongside being at the forefront of the automotive industry, Audi has announced its latest venture at Detroit which will see the German automaker send a special vehicle to the moon.
Audi is participating in the Google Lunar XPRIZE space travel competition where it will work alongside Berlin-based engineering group, Part-Time Scientists. The competition has attracted 16 groups from around the world thanks to its massive prize pool totaling almost $30 million.
For its entrant, Audi has created the lunar quattro. The vehicle is made from high-strength aluminum and due to its small size, tips the scales at a mere 35 kg. To allow it to traverse the difficult terrain of the moon, the Audi lunar quattro has four wheels that can rotate 360 degrees and is capable of reaching 3.6 km/h.
For a team to take out the competition, a team needs to transport a completely automated vehicle to the moon. All teams need to be at least 90 per cent privately funded and once the moon vehicle is on the surface, it needs to travel at least 500 meters and will be required to send back high-resolution images and videos.
Audi and Part-Time Scientists are hoping to send the lunar quattro to the moon by the end of 2017. The 380,000 km trip will culminate in the vehicle landing near the moon's equator, quite close to the landing spot used by NASA in its last manned mission to the moon.