Nissan Announces A Lunar Terrain Vehicle for NASA

April 16th, 2022 by

Gray Lunar Terrain Vehicle

Photo Credit: Nissan

Nissan announces it is designing a Lunar Terrain Vehicle for NASA alongside Teledyne and Sierra Space, these three visionary companies are building a platform in space and will support future exploration in space. During the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Sierra Space, and Nissan stated that they will be designing a crewed Lunar Terrain Vehicle, LTV, to support future NASA missions in space to benefit life on earth. Nissan brings its legacy in automotive design to the team as well as innovation and capability. 

Nissan automakers offer a deep understanding and knowledge of autonomous driving and intelligent vehicle systems as a cornerstone for safer, seamless, and more integrated technology as it empowers the future of mobility. Nissan has four U.S. manufacturing facilities that are capable of producing 1 million vehicles, 1.4 million engines, 1.4 million forgings, and 456,000 castings annually. Nissan will remain committed to investing, manufacturing, and creating jobs in the United States as it employs more than 20,000 individuals for the space project. 

“Participation in this project allows for the extension of our industry’s technology and design capabilities to space technology, and vice versa, with this partnership, we will explore possibilities of autonomy and teleoperations, power management systems, vehicle connectivity, and human-machine interface to help shape the future of intelligent lunar rovers. We then will translate these learnings from the LTV operating on the lunar surface back to earth,” said Maarten Sierhuis, Alliance Global Director of Nissan’s Alliance Innovation Laboratory. 

While Nissan specializes in cars, it has begun to dip into space transportation technology. This past December, Nissan revealed an electric lunar rover prototype with “e-4ORCE”. Nissan applied its e-4ORCE all-wheel technology to the Lunar Terrain Vehicle as it developed these driving force controls to minimize the amount of wheel spin as it related to various surface conditions. The e-4ORCE technology allows for precise control of all four wheels independently, traveling through any rigorous terrain all while remaining energy efficient in any situation that allows limited space for energy storage. Nissan has even demonstrated e-4ORCE’s smoothness using a ramen robot. The e-4ORCE system demonstrates traction, acceleration, and stability which will be significant in future space exploration.

“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.” As stated by Ikkoh Funaki JAXA director of the Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center.

 All three companies have various levels of experience in space technology and are hopeful to transport astronauts on future missions. Knowledge gained through collaborative research can be applied to the development of Nissan’s vehicles. They have created a dynamic, cutting edge and proven team for this mission. Nissan will deliver a rugged, versatile, and intuitive vehicle to support the future in space. Nissan is more than just an automotive company, it will play an important role to create a safer world for everyone. Want to find out more about the Nissan movement?

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