As the number of electric cars continues to increase, the need for charging stations increases with it. Often, finding a charging station not only involves planning to be at the location before the car runs out of battery power, but also being able to pull into one of the (typically shared) spots to complete the actual charge. Volkswagen is developing a mobile robot that eliminates the need to plug into a charging port, bringing the charge directly to your vehicle regardless of which parking space you choose.
Using an app or V2X communication, the owner simply lets the portable charger know the car is ready for a boost. The robot, equipped with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors maneuvers through the parking garage, dodging obstacles until it locates the vehicle. The robot pulls a trailer that holds a mobile energy storage device. Once delivered to the vehicle, the robot autonomously attaches the charging unit to the car, initiating the charge. At that point, the robot is free to deliver charging devices to other cars. When the car is sufficiently charged, the robot comes back to disconnect the charging station and return it to its charging dock.
The system is currently in prototype form, and a manufacturing date has not been set. However, Volkswagen has a history of electric car innovation that leads us to believe it’s only a matter of time before the charging station comes to the car rather than the car having to track down a plugin.
“The mobile charging robot will spark a revolution when it comes to charging in different parking facilities such as multi-storey car parks, parking spaces and underground car parks because we bring the charging infrastructure to the car and not the other way around. With this, we are making almost every car park electric, without any complex individual infrastructural measures,” Mark Möller, Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components, said.
Images via Volkswagen