Volkswagen (VW) has unveiled a working prototype of a robot that can autonomously charge electric cars.
The company has had the idea for at least a year, but only now has VW shown off a working robot capable of charging a car.
The Mobile Charging Robot is an adorable squat bot — which, when you get right down to it, is strikingly reminiscent of the R2-D2 droid from “Star Wars,” bleeps and bloops included 🙂
The idea is to allow robots to bring the charge to vehicles parked in large residential complexes rather than having cars drive out to stations elsewhere.
The other advantage: larger parking lots and garages don’t have to include multiple expensive charging spots.
The VW charging robot – is started via an app or Car-to-X communication – and operates totally autonomously. It independently steers the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it: from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug and decoupling it.
The entire charging process takes place without any human involvement whatsoever. To charge several vehicles at the same time, the mobile robot moves a trailer, essentially a mobile energy storage unit, to the vehicle, connects it up and then uses this energy storage unit to charge the battery of the electric vehicle.
The energy storage unit stays with the vehicle during the charging process. In the meantime, the robot charges other electric vehicles.
Once the charging service has ended, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.
Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector. VW is developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures. The mobile charging robot and flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions.
VW is hoping to launch such flexible quick-charging stations in early 2021, but is still evaluating if an autonomous robot system makes sense on a larger scale.
Reference- Volkswagen online newsroom, Electrek, Futurism, InsideEvs