The car manufacturer Ford is currently testing a fully automated electric charging station solution, allowing drivers to recharge their vehicles hands-free. This is mainly aimed at drivers with disabilities or reduced mobility.
While a robotic charging station system may seem like a convenience to some, it could make life significantly easier for certain users, especially those with disabilities or reduced mobility.
To respond to their needs, Ford has developed a prototype for a robotic charging station that drivers activate using an application on their smartphone. From then on, all the operations required for vehicle charging are entrusted to the robot, without the driver having to get out of their car.
Once the charging station is activated, a cover slides open and releases the charging arm, which deploys to the car’s socket, guided by a miniature camera. At the end of the charging process, the arm folds back into its slot.
Ford is currently testing this robotic charging station as part of a broader research program to develop hands-free charging solutions for electric vehicles, and fully automated charging for autonomous vehicles.
Eventually, this robotic charging station, custom-built in Germany in partnership with the Dortmund University, could be installed in parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities.
Last year, at the IAA Mobility show in Munich, Ford demonstrated an automated valet service capable of parking, recharging and washing cars, all without any human intervention.
And Ford isn't the only car-maker working on this type of fully automated solution. Volkswagen has also presented mobile charging robots that can move from one parking space to another. – AFP Relaxnews