Hyundai is building a rover to explore the moon

Published Apr 20, 2023


Seoul – Hyundai has started building a mobility “rover” for exploring the moon.

The lunar vehicle is being designed in tandem with various aerospace partners following a joint multilateral research agreement with six Korean research institutes in the aerospace sector to develop a mobility solution for lunar surface exploration.

The carmaker expects to complete the initial test unit as soon as the second half of 2024 and aims to create a model that has launch capability in 2027.

Following development, testing and refinement, the plan is to land the rover near the south pole area of the moon to carry out various scientific missions. The solar-powered, autonomous driving mobility unit will weigh around 70kg.

“Hyundai Motor Group has consistently stated its goal is to contribute to expanding human reach and the scope of human mobility experiences,” said Hyundai’s R&D head, Yong Wha Kim.

“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.”

The rover will utilise the carmaker’s advanced robotics and autonomous driving technologies, including camera and LiDAR as well as motor, wheels and suspension, solar charging parts and Hyundai Rotem’s robot manufacturing technology.

Hyundai’s components will occupy the lower section of the rover while the upper section will consist of scientific payloads for lunar surface exploration. The rover will have thermal management function and radiation shielding to withstand the extreme environment of the lunar surface.

Once the lower part of the rover is developed, the consultative body expects it to function as a mobility platform, supporting an upper part that will hold a variety of advanced technologies for digging, excavation and human exploration of the lunar surface for resources.

Ultimately, the goal is to deliver a universally applicable mobility platform to handle a variety of payloads.

Before the rover can be sent to the moon, the company will conduct mission-based performance testing of the development model in an environment similar to the moon’s surface in preparation for lunar mission and make refinements based on the test results.

Hyundai says it is committed to expanding human reach and providing various innovative mobility solutions through robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous driving technologies.