Hyundai Motor Group aims for the Moon with its lunar rover
Hyundai Motor Group has announced that the company has commenced building the initial development model of a lunar exploration mobility rover. The lunar rover is being built in association with its aerospace partners in Korea. Back in July 2022, the automaker signed a joint multilateral research agreement with six Korean research institutes in the aerospace sector to run and support a consultative body to develop the lunar rover.
The initial lunar rover test unit will be complete by the second half of 2024 and Hyundai aims to create a model that can be launched by 2027. The lunar exploration rover will be packed with a host of technologies seen in building Hyundai and Kia cars. This includes advanced robotics, autonomous driving technologies with camera and LiDAR sensors, a driving system with a motor, wheels and suspension; charging parts with solar panels and battery; as well as Hyundai Rotem’s robot manufacturing technology as part of a multi-purpose mobility platform.
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Speaking on building a lunar rover, Yong Wha Kim, Executive Vice President, and Head of R&D Planning & Coordination Center of Hyundai Motor and Kia, said, “Hyundai Motor Group has consistently stated its goal is to contribute to expanding the human reach and the scope of human mobility experiences. The creation of the lunar exploration mobility development model not only reflects this goal but also shows our ambition to achieve tangible results in the face of significant challenges. With the rover’s development, we are moving beyond land, sea and air mobility to expand into space mobility."
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While the base of the lunar rover will pack Hyundai’s technology and components, the upper section will comprise scientific payloads for lunar surface exploration. The rover will come with a thermal management function and radiation shielding to withstand the extreme environment of the lunar surface. The lower section built by Hyundai will work as a mobility platform and support an upper part that will hold a variety of advanced technologies for digging, excavation and human exploration of the lunar surface.
The lunar rover will be tested on land in an environment similar to the Moon’s surface in preparation for the lunar mission. Following the development, testing, and refinement phase, the consortium plans to land the Hyundai lunar rover near the south pole area of the moon to carry out various missions. The lunar rover will weigh around 70 kg.
The Hyundai Group has partnered with various stakeholders including the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI), Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT), Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and Korea Automotive Technology Institute (KATECH).