The world is your oyster when you’re as big and wealthy as Toyota. Not only does the automotive behemoth draw the world’s most devoted automobile purchasers, but it was also the most sought car brand in 2021. Buyers have a wide range of options, from tiny, cost-effective alternatives to cutting-edge hydrogen-fueled vehicles like the Toyota Mirai.
The Japanese powerhouse, pleased with its job on Earth, has set its sights on the moon as its next goal. Toyota has been hard at work with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) on a pressurized rover known as the Lunar Cruiser. Developing an automobile for everyday usage is difficult enough, but designing one to explore the moon is a very new challenge.
However, there are some advantages to the study, with Toyota stating that technology created for lunar exploration may be used to “build better automobiles and develop technologies for [a] sustainable civilization and the planet” on the Blue Planet.
The usage of fuel cell electric technology in the Lunar Cruiser can only signify one thing: Toyota isn’t given up on hydrogen just yet. The brand has been hesitant to accept completely electric vehicles, with the bZ4x crossover being the exception. However, with the Mirai and its innovative hydrogen-powered V8, Toyota has demonstrated that it is not willing to abandon alternate energy sources.
“Toyota will contribute to this effort by providing the dependability, durability, driving performance, and FC (fuel cell) technology that we have honed over many years of vehicle development,” the company stated. While we support electric cars, any reasonable attempt to rescue the internal combustion engine receives our endorsement.
But how would it work in practice? Toyota doesn’t say much, but it’s evident that the hydrogen market leader is trying to learn a lot about fuel cell technology so that purchasers will have more options in a mainly electric future.
The automotive behemoth has released a video that showcases the lunar rover’s impressive capabilities. The Small Pressurized Rover Prototype, which looks nothing like the design shown above but has a lot of potentials, is known as the Small Pressurized Rover Prototype. According to Toyota, the moon’s surface has a gravity of one-sixth that of Earth and suffers harsh temperatures.
As a result, it must be a very capable vehicle. The prototype can steer all four wheels in the same or opposite direction, as well as change direction using the brakes, as shown in the video above. This will come in handy on the moon, where the spacecraft must avoid dangerous obstructions.
It’s fantastic that Toyota is thinking about its customers on the ground and hopes to use the unquestionably expensive fuel cell research to develop road-going vehicles. While the firm is at it, it would be amazing to see some of the characteristics of the Small Pressurized Rover Prototype adopted by its off-road vehicles.