Nissan to help NASA design a new lunar rover with autonomous driving technology
Nissan will work together with Sierra Space and Teledyne Brown Engineering to design a crewed Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) that will support future NASA exploration missions of the Moon. Nissan North America has said that the auto company will provide its production capabilities, automotive design expertise, autonomous driving technology and intelligent vehicle systems for the lunar rover. This lunar rover will be equipped with self-driving technology, said Nissan.
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Maarten Sierhuis, Alliance Global Director of Nissan’s Alliance Innovation Laboratory in Silicon Valley, California, said that Nissan's participation in this project allows for the extension of its 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," Sierhuis further added.
Interestingly, last year Nissan showcased a lunar rover concept with autonomous driving technology. The company clearly has the ambition to be a part of future Moon exploration missions.
Both Sierra Space and Teledyne have years of experience in extraterrestrial exploration missions. Teledyne has built the first lunar rover prototype in the 1960s for NASA and has performed payload operations and integration work for the US space agency for more than 40 years. This company will lead the project comprising the three firms. It will provide program management, engineering, manufacturing, integration, operations, and the power system for the vehicle.
Sierra Space on the other hand will provide the flight software, space-qualified mechanisms, communications, pointing, navigation, and timing for the LTV.