How India-bound Nissan X-Trail's e-4ORCE tech powers lunar rover prototype

  • Nissan X-Trail's e-4ORCE technology controls the front and rear drive force and left and right braking of the lunar rover.
Nissan X-Trail's e-4ORCE technology enables the prototype rover to properly drive in extreme conditions.
Nissan X-Trail's e-4ORCE technology enables the prototype rover to properly drive in extreme conditions.

Nissan Motor has been engaging the X-Trail SUV's e-4ORCE driving technology to control the driving force of the company's lunar rover and now, the company has revealed updates and videos on the project. Called the Nissan X-Trail e-4ORCE Moon Trail Project, in association with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the project makes use of the e-4ORCE technology to enable the prototype rover to drive in extreme conditions at the volcanic landscape of Miyakejima, a Japanese volcanic island.

The basaltic sand of the island is similar to the Moon’s regolith and the e-4ORCE technology controls the front and rear drive force and left and right braking of the rover. It enabled precise cornering and reduced steering correction on all terrains.

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The e-4ORCE technology can control the motor down to 1/10,000 of a second, enabling the precise response on any road surface, thus making it easier for the rover to drive in rough terrains. The second-gen e-POWER with a VC turbo engine lowers the RPMs and the frequency of the engine starts. It cancels engine noise by emitting an opposite soundwave, making the cabin much quieter.

Nissan and JAXA had jointly unveiled the lunar rover prototype at the Nissan Futures event in Japan in December of 2021. The JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center has been conducting research on lunar rovers which must be able to traverse the moon's powdery, rocky and undulating terrain, given that energy sources are limited in the space.

Nissan has been helping with driving controllability of the rovers since January of 2020. The company's research applies the motor control technology it has developed through its production of mass-market electric vehicles such as the LEAF as well as the e-4ORCE all-wheel control technology available on the Ariya electric crossover. And as per the research conducted, the latter technology has helped in boosting the lunar rover's performance over tricky terrains.

First Published Date: 03 Apr 2023, 16:29 PM IST
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