Cruiser, robot arm, Toyota heading to the moon in a dream

Tokyo — Toyota is working with the Japanese space agency to explore the surface of the moon with the ambition to help live on the moon and live on Mars by 2040, company officials said Friday. Said to.

The vehicle under development by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is called the Lunar Cruiser and was named in honor of the Toyota Land Cruiser SUV. Its launch is set for the late 2020s.

Takao Sato, who heads Toyota’s Lunar Cruiser project, said the vehicle is based on the idea that people can safely eat, work, sleep and communicate in the car, and the same can be done in space. Said.

“We see space as an area of ​​change once in a hundred years. By going to space, we may be able to develop technologies such as telecommunications that are useful for human life,” Sato told The Associated Press. ..

Guitari Japan Inc., a venture company contracted with Toyota, has developed a robot arm for Lunar Cruiser. It is designed to perform tasks such as inspection and maintenance. Its “grapple fixture” allows you to change the ends of the arm, acting like a variety of tools, scooping, lifting and sweeping.

Sho Nakanosu, CEO of Guitai, felt that the task of blasting into space was basically achieved, but said that working in space would be costly and dangerous for astronauts. rice field. He said robots would come in handy there.

Since its founding in the 1930s, Toyota has been afraid to lose its core business due to changing times. It challenged houses, boats, jets, and robots. Woven City, an online and sustainable residential area near Mt. Fuji, is where construction will begin this year.

Japan’s attraction to the moon is increasing.

A Japanese private venture called ispace Inc. is working on a lunar rover, landing and orbiting, and plans to land on the moon later this year. Yusaku Maezawa, a businessman who recently took a video of himself floating on the International Space Station, booked an orbit around the moon on the starship of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Shinichiro Noda, a Toyota engineer, said he was excited about the lunar project, an extension of the automaker’s long-standing mission to serve customers, and the moon provides a valuable resource for life on Earth. There is likely to be.

“It is our mission to send our car to the moon,” he said. Toyota has cars almost everywhere. “But this is to take our car to a place we have never been to.”

Yuri Kageyama

Associated Press