Nissan reveals a lunar rover prototype developed with JAXA


The Ariya Single Seater concept is not the only concept Nissan revealed at the Nissan Futures event in Japan; the company also revealed a lunar rover prototype—developed in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The space agency has been researching rovers since January 2020, mainly on remotely driving and controlling them on challenging terrains.

Visually, the rover looks pretty simple, but it’s all about utilizing Ariya‘s e-4ORCE AWD technology. In simple terms, the rover is using Nissan-developed driving-force controls that minimize wheel spin depending on the surface conditions. More specifically, the e-4ORCE’s performance in sandy terrain is being improved, since the wheels tend to bury themselves and get stuck in such terrains. Through this joint research, Nissan aims to contribute to both automotive and space exploration technology industries.

“JAXA aims to apply the research results to future space exploration. We are collaborating with companies, universities and research institutes on projects that are feasible and have the potential for commercialization and innovation. By conducting research with Nissan, which has expertise in electrified technologies, we hope to apply our findings to the development of higher-performance lunar rovers,” said Ikkoh Funaki, JAXA Director of the Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center.

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