Nissan and JAXA have built a lunar rover prototype

Nissan has equipped this machine with its e-4orce technology
by Leandre Grecia | Dec 2, 2021
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PHOTO: Nissan
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Concept cars and sustainability efforts aren’t all that Nissan has been up to lately. It’s also been working with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a lunar rover, and it has now revealed the prototype.

What Nissan is doing is helping JAXA work on the driving controllability of the lunar rovers. The carmaker is using its motor-control technology (used in the Leaf) and its e-4orce all-wheel-control tech (equipped in the Ariya) to improve performance on sand and other harsh conditions similar to the moon’s terrain.

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Lunar rovers are prone to getting stuck in the moon’s powdery and rocky surface, as wheels frequently spin and dig further into the terrain. Nissan was able to develop driving-force controls that minimize the amount of wheel spin in accordance with surface conditions. You can watch the video below to see how it works:

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“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 potential for commercialization and innovation,” said JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center director Ikkoh Funaki. “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.”

“The uses of automobiles and driving situations are wide-ranging,” said the general manager of the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Department in charge of e-4orce control development at Nissan Toshiyuki Nakajima. “We aim for the ultimate driving performance through our research and development, and believe the know-how gained from this joint research with JAXA will lead to innovations in our vehicles that will bring benefits to customers.”

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PHOTO: Nissan
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