Japanese Carrier KDDI Joins Google's Moon Robot Competition

Posted: Mar 27 2016, 7:43am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Japanese Carrier KDDI Joins Google's Moon Robot Competition
Credit: Japanese team Hakuto

KDDI partners with Japanese Google Lunar XPRIZE team Hakuto.

It is the biggest science challenge. The Google Lunar XPRIZE competition awards $20 million to the winner who gets a robotic rover onto the surface of the moon, travel more than 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images taken by the rover’s camera to the Earth’s surface.

Japanese carrier KDDI announced to join the Japanese team Hakuto, who is one of the 16 teams competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

“The communication technology that we jointly develop is essential to connect us to space and to our rover on the Moon. I greatly feel reassured that the pioneer of international telecommunications in Japan is supporting us to build that technology. I am confident in the faculties of au’s research institute and its technicians’ outstanding experience and knowledge of communication technologies. I am incredibly excited to work with them as a team to pursue this mission,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Hakuto Team Leader.

Hakuto is maintained by ispace technologies, inc. and has a mission in pursuit of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The Google Lunar XPRIZE is the world’s first uncrewed lunar exploration competition. Optimizing their accumulated technologies and experience in telecommunications, au (KDDI’s mobile brand) is jointly developing a lunar exploration robot with Hakuto in an attempt to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition.

Having already completed a number of iterations of the design of its rover, HAKUTO is now working on developing the final version, (i.e.: flight model) which will be used to complete their lunar exploration mission.

Operation of the rover on the Moon will be conducted remotely from the Earth; communication technology is therefore key to the success of the mission. Hakuto is conducting research to use a frequency band normally used for mobile devices on the lunar surface. This is the first attempt by a private company to use commercial communication technologies to assist in space exploration. Au will support this project by optimizing their accumulated technologies and using their experience in telecommunication. This includes testing radio radio communications using a radio-frequency anechoic chamber, and assisting with data recovery, compression, and optimization.

Au and Hakuto will also collaborate for testing of the flight model of the rover, which is currently under development. This new space challenge by au follows their previous innovation in international satellite broadcasting, being the first to broadcast between the U.S. and Japan. HAKUTO’s mission in pursuit of the Google Lunar XPRIZE is their challenge to cross the boundary between space and the Earth. By going to the Moon with a privately funded company for the first time, au is further establishing their commitment to transcending boundaries.

Academy Award-nominated director Orlando von Einsiedel and Executive Producer J.J. Abrams created a documentary web series about the people competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The Moon Shot titled web-series has been released in the Youtube XPRIZE channel. Watch the trailer below.

About the Google Lunar XPRIZE

Sponsored by Google, the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, which is maintained by XPRIZE Foundation, is an international space race in lunar robotic exploration. The purpose of this race is to advance privately funded space development, expand the space industry, promote investments to the market, and create sustainable business to develop on the Moon over a long term. The mission is to land a privately funded rover on the Moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images. The first team will be awarded the $20 million Grand Prize. The second team will be awarded $5 million. Currently, 16 teams are officially participating in the competition worldwide.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
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