WATCH: Nissan co-developing lunar rover prototype with JAXA

WATCH: Nissan co-developing lunar rover prototype with JAXA

MANILA: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has partnered with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a lunar rover prototype, which was unveiled at the “Nissan Futures” event yesterday, December 2.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What are the contributions made by Nissan for the new lunar rover prototype?

    Nissan's e-4orce all-wheel control system helps enhance the lunar rover’s performance over rocky terrain. Its research has also incorporated the motor control technology developed for mass-market EVs like the Leaf.
  • What were the requirements needed to develop a reliable lunar rover?

    A lunar rover must be able to navigate through the moon’s powdery and rocky landscape while still being energy-efficient. Furthermore, the amount of energy available to operate vehicles in space is limited.
  • The JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub has been conducting research on lunar rovers, which play a significant role in space explorations. Since January 2020, Nissan has been collaborating with JAXA on the rovers’ driving controllability.

    In a statement, JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub Director Ikkoh Funaki said, “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. 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.”

    A lunar rover must be able to navigate through the moon’s powdery and rocky landscape while still being energy-efficient. Furthermore, the amount of energy available to operate vehicles in space is limited.

    Nissan x Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Lunar Rover

    Nissan’s research incorporates motor control technology developed for mass-market electric vehicles like the Leaf, as well as the e-4orce E all-wheel control system used in the all-new Ariya electric crossover. e-4orce helps enhance the lunar rover’s performance over rugged terrain.

    Nissan has concentrated on the development of reliable driving performance, allowing customers to drive with more confidence. Nissan’s e-4orce technology precisely manages each of the four wheels separately, giving the driver confidence in any situation.

    Nissan x Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Lunar Rover

    The Nissan Ariya e-4orce model comes with front and rear electric motors. To produce traction during acceleration, each motor’s torque can be separately adjusted. When decelerating, the amount of regeneration for the front and rear motors in individually regulated. e-4orce also reduces dive and body shake during braking.

    The torque of the front and rear motors, as well as the braking performance of all four wheels, is controlled around corners to provide smooth and comfortable handling. Drivers of all skill levels can confidently negotiate different road conditions, including rain and snow, with these controls.

    The Nissan Ariya e-4orce is set to go on sale in Japan in summer 2022.

    Nissan is upgrading its e-4orce technology with the help of JAXA in order to boost performance in sandy terrain and other challenging conditions. When cars are driven through sand, their wheels typically spin and dig in, preventing them from moving forward. To avoid getting trapped, the driver needs a high level of driving skill. Nissan has developed driving-force controls that adjust the amount of wheel spin based on the surface conditions.

    Nissan hopes to contribute to the technological progress of automotive and space exploration technology by sharing test-vehicle development expertise and integrating it with JAXA’s experience of rover research.

    Nissan x Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Lunar Rover

    “The uses of automobiles and driving situations are wide-ranging. We aim for the ultimate driving performance through our research and development, and believe the knowhow gained from this joint research with JAXA will lead to innovations in our vehicles that will bring benefits to customers,” Nissan Advanced Vehicle Engineering General Manager Toshiyuki Nakajima stated.

    Watch the reveal of Nissan and JAXA's lunar rover prototype here.

    Photos from Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

    Also read: ‘Nissan Ambition 2030’ to deliver innovative EVs and technologies to empower mobility and beyond

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