Ford's robot charging stations undergoing trials; will aid disabled drivers
US automaker Ford has come up with a method that will aid disabled drivers in charging their electric vehicles with ease. The company has revealed a prototype robot charging station that drivers can operate while sitting in their four-wheelers using smartphones. The project has already undergone lab tests and is now being subjected to scrutiny in real-life situations.
Why does this story matter?
Disabled drivers consider ease of charging to be an important parameter for buying electric vehicles. If robot charging stations become commonplace, they will be of great help to individuals with reduced mobility. Hands-free charging solutions are an exciting avenue for research right now and they will definitely undergo significant improvements in the coming years.
The robot charging station is part of Ford's research project
Ford's prototype robot charging station has been custom-made by Dortmund University, in Germany. It is a part of the automaker's research project to develop automatic charging solutions for autonomous vehicles and hands-free charging methods for EVs. Its technology allows disabled drivers to stay in the vehicle while charging, or go outside while the robot does its work.
How does the charging station work?
Once the robot charging station gets activated, it has a cover that slides open and a charging arm comes out. It extends towards the charging inlet on the vehicle with the help of a tiny camera. After charging is finished, the arm retracts back into place. During the on-road trials, drivers could monitor the charging status using the FordPass app.
What will its future look like?
In the future, the charging stations could be installed in disabled parking spaces or homes. This technology might also be used to ensure fast and efficient charging of a fleet of cars. The entire process may become fully automated. Drivers would send the vehicle to the station and once charging will be completed, it will return to its owner autonomously.
IONITY will improve upon this project
Ford has joined hands with European EV charging network provider IONITY to further improve the robot charging station. The introduction of Automated Valet Parking (AVP) is also on the carmaker's mind.