Nissan 4-Wheel Steering Comes to JAXA Moon Rover

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has big plans to go to the moon with a new high-tech robotic rover that will serve as the agency’s eyes and hands on the moon. To get the absolute, most precise control possible, the agency has turned to the four-wheel steering experts at Nissan to develop the rover’s controls.

Called e-4ORCE precision control, the all-wheel drive system uses torque vectoring in conjunction with the suspension tuning to make steering and handling events, well, minor events. From Nissan’s website, “The new electric-drive four-wheel-control technology now being developed integrates Nissan’s electric propulsion and 4WD control technologies with our chassis control technology to achieve a huge leap in acceleration, cornering and braking performance on par with the latest sports cars.”

Nissan Engineers Collaborate With JAXA

nissan engineers work on the jaxa robot
Image courtesy Nissan/JAXA.

The goal of this joint research with JAXA is to further evolve Nissan’s e-4ORCE and Super HICAS technologies to improve performance in sandy, rocky terrain, as well as extreme heat and cold conditions — exactly like the kind seen on the moon. Or, you know, Chicago during the polar vortex.

When cars are driven in loose sand or icy snow, the tires can lose traction, spin, and dig themselves in, halting the vehicle’s progress. There’s two ways to avoid that fate of course, even assuming the hardware is all up to winter specs. The first is experience and driving talent, which is rare, and the second is software, which is everywhere. To that end, Nissan has developed driving-force software controls that minimize the amount of wheelspin in all surface conditions.

“The uses of automobiles and driving situations are wide-ranging,” explains Toshiyuki Nakajima, general manager of the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Department in charge of e-4ORCE control development at Nissan. “We aim for the ultimate driving performance through our research and development, and believe the knowhow gained from this joint research with JAXA will lead to innovations in our vehicles that will bring benefits to customers.”

So, that’s nice. You can check out the lunar rover concept in this Nissan/JAXA joint promo video below, then let us know what you think of Japan’s moonshot in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

Nissan & JAXA Shoot for the Moon

We’re helping Japan’s space agency (JAXA) improve driving performance in their next lunar rover with our e-4ORCE electrified all-wheel precision control technology. Take a look to see how we’re applying what we learn to help drivers get out of tough spots back here on Earth.

Source | Images: Nissan, via New Atlas.

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