Audi embark on new mission that'll see them leave the Earth's atmosphere.

Audi have longed worked on many innovative technologies; most recently it's been Audi Piloted Driving, a project in which they've already managed to get an autonomous car to do a racing lap around Hockenheim. Audi's latest venture into the world of technology sees them leaving the Earth behind and putting a vehicle on the Moon.

The innovative project comes through a new partnership with a team in Google's 'Lunar XPRIZE' competition - in which privately funded teams are competing to send an unmanned rover into space. Launched in 2007, the competition aims to challenge scientists and engineers to develop cheaper technologies for future space projects. In order to win the $30,000,000 prize money, teams must get their rover onto the Moon, drive 500 metres and beam HD video back to Earth.

Supporting the only German team in the competition - named the 'Part-Time Scientists' - Audi are offering their expertise in lightweight construction, e-mobility, Quattro permanent all-wheel drive and piloted driving. Audi are also assisting the team when it comes to testing, trials and quality assurance; working together in these ways, the partnership has already been recognized by a jury of aerospace experts with two Milestone Prizes.

Talking about the exciting project, Audi board member for Sales and Marketing Luca de Meo said:

“The concept of a privately financed mission to the moon is fascinating…and innovative ideas need supporters that promote them. We want to send a signal with our involvement with the Part-Time Scientists and also motivate other partners to contribute their know-how."

The 'Audi Lunar Quattro' is expected to embark on its 380,000km journey in 2017 and will aim to land near the 1972 landing site of the Apollo 17 craft. At current, the rover is being tested in various locations such as the Austrian Alps and Tenerife, ensuring that it is ready to cope with the challenging terrain and varying temperatures that the moon will throw at it.

Starting out with more than 25 teams competing, the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition is now in its final round with only 16 teams from around the world still in contention. In a recent interview Robert Bohme, founder and head of the Part-Time Scientists, sounded confident saying:

“With Audi we have acquired a strong partner that will bring us a big step forward with its technological and mobility capabilities…we look forward to future interaction and a fruitful partnership."