Toyota showed off the latest venture in its space program, which it launched together with the Japanese Space Agency. The four-seater rover is supposed to get the FJ40 spirit to the moon.
During its existence, Toyota has designed many concepts for conquering racing circuits, districts, city streets, and now it goes beyond our planet. In 2019, it entered into a contract with the Japan Space Agency, and as part of this collaboration, a lunar off-road design called the Toyota Baby Lunar Cruiser (TBLC) was created.
The automaker presents it as part of the publication of a whole series of prototypes for the 50th anniversary of the American design studio Calty Design Research. The TBLC is inspired by the Land Cruiser FJ40, which is at home off-road. Direct references are the front fenders with narrow LED lights and the oval grille with a large Toyota inscription. It is flanked by a large windshield that extends to the sides. This is good for the view, but from a structural point of view, the absence of A-pillars could cause problems. On the contrary, logistical problems have decreased thanks to airless wheels and a roof rack.
In the interior, there is room for a crew of four, when the driver controls the vehicle with two joysticks. Driving data is displayed on a digital panel with augmented reality. The large diagonal comes in handy because the TBLC is literally littered with cameras and sensors collecting valuable data. We have little information about the drivetrain. We know that the car will use fuel cell technology and have a range of 10,000 km, which is almost enough to circle the equatorial circumference of the Moon.
Hyundai also has ambitions to conquer the moon. Together with Kia, they are developing an exploration vehicle for 2027. Another entity that has embarked on a space vehicle in 2022 is General Motors. Lockheed Martin was also involved in the Artemis project, and it is supposed to be a simple utility platform for two astronauts. As in 1969 with Apollo 11, it will use Goodyear airless tires.