Volkswagen debuts concept of fully autonomous electric car-charging robots.
Behold, the future. Electric cars are becoming more and more popular, and the inconvenience of unavailable charging spots is growing. Volkswagen has announced a radical plan to curb this mounting problem, and the process is actually genius.
The search for an open charging space might soon be unnecessary thanks to Volkswagen Group Components’ concept mobile charging robots. The robots are able to complete the entire charging process without any human interaction. The process could make charging your car as simple as charging your cellphone.
First, the mobile robot is activated via either app or V2X communication. The robot is then able to identify and drive to the vehicle that needs charging. Once at the car, it is able to open the charging socket flap and connect the plug autonomously. The robot brings along a ‘battery wagon’ containing a mobile energy storage device that is then connected to the vehicle, charging it. This ‘battery wagon’ stays with the vehicle the whole time, while the robot retrieves more wagons for other cars that need charging. Once these mobile charging devices are drained, the robot returns them to the charging station.
The robots can drive autonomously, and are fitted with a plethora of cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors. These features allow the robot to move freely around the parking area, and give it the ability to recognize and react to obstacles. Several car charging robots can be activated at once to cover a large parking area if the demand is high.
Mark Möller, the Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components says, “This approach has an enormous economic potential. The constructional work as well as the costs for the assembly of the charging infrastructure can be reduced considerably through the use of robots. Even the well-known problem of a charging station being blocked by another vehicle will no longer exist with our concept. You simply choose any parking space as usual. You can leave the rest to our electronic helper.”
This concept could solve many charging problems associated with owning an electric car, although a date for the market launch of these mobile charging robots has not been released.