Hyundai Motor Group announces development of lunar exploration rover

Korean automotive manufacturer "moving beyond land, sea, and air mobility to expand into space".
Abdul-Rahman Oladimeji Bello
Abandoned moon rover
Abandoned moon rover

Vitaly Kusaylo / iStock  

Hyundai Motor Group, a leading South Korean automotive manufacturer, has announced its entry into the space exploration industry. On April 20, 2023, the company unveiled plans to build a lunar exploration rover development model, in collaboration with several Korean research institutions in the aerospace sector.

The ambitious project aims to create a versatile mobility platform capable of handling various payloads, with cutting-edge autonomous driving technology, solar charging, thermal management, and radiation shielding features. The rover is designed to carry various pieces of equipment on top of it, with a maximum weight of 70 kg.

The group aims to create a rover with launch capability in 2027, after the development model is completed and tested in an environment similar to the Moon's surface. The rover will carry out various scientific missions in the south pole area of the moon, to explore the lunar surface for resources and support human exploration.

Yong Wha Kim of Hyundai Motor and Kia, said, "The creation of the lunar exploration mobility development model reflects our goal and 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."

Hyundai Motor Group has a long-term vision of expanding human reach and providing various innovative mobility solutions through robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous driving technologies. The collaboration with aerospace research institutes in Korea marks a significant milestone toward achieving its Metamobility vision.

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.

Hyundai Motor Group's entry into the space exploration industry is a significant development for South Korea's aerospace sector, and it opens up new possibilities for innovation and technological advancement. The company's expertise in autonomous driving technology and mobility solutions will undoubtedly contribute to the success of the lunar exploration rover project, and it will pave the way for future space exploration missions.

Among the six Korean research institutions involved in the project are 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).

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