The North American International Auto Show is well underway and a host of exotic vehicles have been unveiled by carmakers from all around the world.
One of the more unusual unveilings was that of Audi’s Moon Rover, a concept vehicle that the German carmaker first revealed plans for in July 2015.
The lunar rover, built by German engineering group the Part-Time Scientists, was designed as part of Google’s Lunar XPrize contest. The competition was set up to ‘incentivise space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond’.
With a £20.8m prize up for grabs, 16 privately-funded teams are battling to place a robot on the moon's surface, where they must explore at least 1,640ft (500 metres) and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth.
Audi helped the Part-Time Scientists to perfect a 3D-printing process to manufacturer the vehicle from titanium and aluminium.
The Moon Rover is demonstrating its capabilities and equipment to visitors to the show in Detroit, which includes a theoretical top speed of 2.2mph, two stereoscopic cameras at the front and a scientific camera to study the Moon’s surface and an adjustable solar panel, which is used to charge its Lithium-ion battery.
As part of the competition, Audi plans to launch the rover in 2017 in a five-day, 236,100-mile trip to the landing site of Apollo 17 – the last manned mission to make it to the Moon.
Author: Laura Thomson
Photo: Audi USA