Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has unveiled a lunar rover prototype jointly developed with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) at its Nissan Futures event.
The JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center is conducting research on lunar rovers — a key technology for space exploration. Nissan has been working with JAXA on driving controllability of the rovers since January 2020.
A lunar rover must be able to traverse the moon's powdery, rocky and undulating terrain and be energy efficient. Furthermore, energy sources for operating vehicles in space are limited.
Nissan's research applies the motor control technology it has developed through its production of mass-market electric vehicles such as the LEAF as well as the e-4ORCE all-wheel control technology featured on the all-new Ariya electric crossover. In particular, it is e-4ORCE that is boosting the lunar rover's performance over tricky terrain.
Through the joint research, Nissan aims to contribute to the technological evolution of automotive technology and space exploration technology by sharing know-how gained from test-vehicle development and combining it with JAXA's knowledge of rover research.