Hyundai motor group joins the space game


Hyundai Motor Group has started building the preliminary and development model of its own lunar exploration mobility rover in hopes of sending the device to the moon for scientific missions. For the solar-powered, autonomous driving mobility unit – expected to weigh around 70 kilos – the Group is perusing and employing Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation’s advanced robotics and autonomous driving technologies (camera, LiDAR), driving system (motor, wheels, suspension), charging parts (solar panel, battery) as well as Hyundai Rotem’s robot manufacturing technology to realize a multi-purpose mobility platform. 


The Group expects to complete the initial test unit as soon as the second half of 2024 and aims to create a model that has launch capability in 2027. ‘Hyundai Motor Group has consistently stated its goal is to contribute to expanding human reach and the scope of human mobility experiences,’ says Yong Wha Kim, Executive Vice President, and Head of R&D Planning & Coordination Center of Hyundai Motor and Kia. ‘With the rover’s development, we are moving beyond land, sea and air mobility to expand into space mobility.’


The consultative body includes 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).

hyundai lunar exploration rover
images courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group | header image courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University



land the rover near the south pole area of the moon


Hyundai Motor Group states that its lunar exploration rover model comprises two sections. The lower section anchors Hyundai’s vehicle components while the upper section is dedicated to scientific payloads for lunar surface exploration. The design team plans to install a thermal management function and radiation shielding in their lunar exploration rover model to weather the extreme conditions of the lunar surface. 


‘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. Ultimately, the goal is to deliver a universally applicable mobility platform to handle a variety of payloads,’ states the Group.


Before the rover can be sent to the Moon, the Group is set to conduct mission-based performance testing of the development model in an environment similar to the Moon’s surface in preparation for the lunar mission and make refinements based on the test results. The end goal is to land the rover near the south pole area of the moon to carry out various scientific missions.

hyundai lunar exploration rover
the initial test unit is set for the second half of 2024, aiming to create a model that has launch capability in 2027

hyundai lunar exploration rover
the solar-powered, autonomous driving mobility unit is expected to weigh around 70 kilos



project info:


name: Lunar Exploration Rover

company: Hyundai Motor