German automaker Volkswagen is behind an innovation that could make noise. In a future where the car fleet will be entirely electric, small autonomous charging robots may well roam the car parks and identify vehicles needing energy!
An autonomous charging robot
The electric vehicle market is gradually expanding, thanks in particular to manufacturers such as Tesla. Some companies are also developing increasingly innovative charging solutions. Examples include induction roads or retractable charging stations. In a press release published on December 26, 2019, Volkswagen unveiled an autonomous charging robot project!
We are talking about a prototype robot whose favorite place is the parking lot. Indeed, the manufacturer thought that a machine wandering in this kind of place could recharge cars without the need for individual terminals. Rather clever and above all new, this innovation will be presented at the next Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which will take place from January 7 to 10, 2020.
A troubleshooting solution
According to Volkswagen, the robots will each be linked to a base station. Through a dedicated application, users will be able to order a 50kW recharge on request. In reality, we are talking about a robot guiding a refill (see video at the end of the article). He will then set off and find the vehicle. You should know that the robot is equipped with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors. This equipment will allow him to avoid obstacles on his way and find the vehicles concerned without incident.
The idea is not to get a full recharge but rather to troubleshoot when needed. In addition, the manufacturer is planning a first installation in a real situation. It will be equipped with two robots to avoid a long wait. However, this type of innovation is somewhat questionable, particularly with regard to the compatibility of the different charging ports. Indeed, the robots will obviously be able to recharge Volkswagen vehicles. However, in the event of incompatibility with other brands, it will be a device whose scope will be rather limited.