Suzuki Motor has inked a partnership deal with a private-sector team developing a lunar probe.
The Hakuto project, led by Tokyo-based startup ispace technologies, brings together academics and experts from a variety of backgrounds. Hakuto is the sole Japanese team competing for the Google Lunar Xprize, which awards money to the first group to land a privately funded rover on the moon and have it travel a certain distance.
The fine particles of the lunar soil make motorized travel difficult. Suzuki is considering lending its expertise in weight-saving and four-wheel-drive traction control technology. Japanese telecommunications company KDDI has also come on board as a sponsor.