Needless to say, Toyota has been conquering the automotive landscape on Earth, consistently hovering at the top of the global sales numbers. But the Japanese marque isn't stopping there. In collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Toyota has started the joint research on fuel cell vehicle technology on the moon. More importantly, the other-worldly Toyota vehicle now has a name.
The moon exploration vehicle will be the Lunar Cruiser. And yes, it's one of the most Toyota names ever, harkening back to the automaker's line of SUVs, primarily the iconic Land Cruiser.
Gallery: JAXA x Toyota Lunar Cruiser
The intention to name the pressurized rover Lunar Cruiser is obvious; Toyota wants the people to be familiar with it as the development goes on. The fact that we (and other automotive sites) are writing about this means that the plan is working well.
As mentioned, the Lunar Cruiser is currently in development. The pressurized rover will be manned, of course. Considering the harsh environments that the Japanese exploration team will face on the moon, the collaboration wants to ensure that quality, durability, and reliability are all present on the pressurized rover – in the spirit of "I will definitely come back home." Yes, that's actually on the press release.
JAXA and Toyota have laid out the schedule for the Lunar Cruiser's journey within this decade. This year, driving simulations will be conducted to confirm the power and heat dissipation performance, as well as the trial production of tyres and arrangement of the interior layout.
By 2024, the team will start the engineering and design of the actual spacecraft. The public reveal of the actual Lunar Cruiser is set to happen by 2029, with a manned lunar exploration happening by 2030.