NASA’s new Modular Robotic Vehicle prototype is an advanced electric rover, developed by the space agency in partnership with the car industry, that boasts four liquid-cooled wheel motors, remote control capabilities, and dynamic driver feedback. The battery-powered vehicle could eventually help us explore new worlds — but perhaps more importantly, it’s also capable of some seriously sweet drifts.
The MRV has four separate wheel modules that can turn independently of each other. The setup makes the electric buggy supremely agile — both able to turn as a traditional car would, and rotate its wheels to take off in new directions. It’s also equipped with a remote control system that lets users driver the golf-cart-sized creation without needing to be behind the wheel, a helpful addition that means astronauts may one day be able to ghost ride the whip on other worlds.
NASA’s video shows the MRV’s driver handling the vehicle with ease, spinning backwards in a lazy drift around a grassy central island, skidding through puddles, and re-angling the wheels to park the buggy between two regular cars. While it’s probably unlikely NASA astronauts will need to squeeze into tight parking spaces on Mars, the technology in the new buggy could inspire the next generation of electric vehicles, both on new planets, and back here on Earth.