A team of German engineers competing in Google's Lunar Xprize has struck a deal with Audi to design a rover that could one day drive on the Moon.
The carmaker will offer the group, called Part-Time Scientists, its four-wheel drive technology, as well as expertise in lightweight construction, electric mobility and piloted driving.
Google's competition will award $30 million to the first team that can get a rover to the Moon, drive 500 metres and beam HD video back to Earth. The goal is to challenge scientists and engineers to develop low-cost ways of getting off our planet.
"The concept of a privately financed mission to the moon is fascinating," said Luca de Meo, Audi Board Member for Sales and Marketing. "And innovative ideas need supporters that promote them. We want to send a signal with our involvement with the Part-Time Scientists and also motivate other partners to contribute their know-how."
"With Audi we have acquired a strong partner that will bring us a big step forward with its technological and mobility capabilities," added Robert Böhme, founder and head of the Part-Time Scientists. "We look forward to future interaction and a fruitful partnership."
The team's lunar rover is set to launch in 2017, landing close to the site of Nasa's last manned mission to the Moon. It's competing with 15 other teams from around the world for the $30 million prize.