VW sees robots finding and charging your car automatically

Volkswagen have created a new prototype robot that can help you navigate to your car in any parking garage, before charging it for you. VW believe that such technology is the future of the automotive industry, enabling motorists to navigate and negotiate parking EVs more easily.
VW mobile charging robot
Compact and autonomous: Volkswagen Group Components’ mobile charging robot. Photo: Volkswagen

Charging more important

Charging is obviously becoming more important in the motor industry, as a wider variety of electric vehicles become available. The success of Tesla in this space has had a big influence over the way that the niche has developed, and many automakers are now getting into the electric car market.

Technology developed by Volkswagen would see an autonomous helper hitch itself to a battery wagon at a base station, before delivering 50kW of power to an electric vehicle. VW envisages that this could be delivered via an app, or through a smart grid.

It should be noted that the 50kW of power that the recharging device would deliver would be insufficient to recharge the majority of electric vehicles to their fullest capacity. However, it would provide a significant amount of juice, which would be easily enough for vehicles to complete a ride home.

Volkswagen Group Components’ mobile charging robot brings a trailer in the form of a mobile energy storage device to the vehicle. Photo: Volkswagen AG

Parking feature

In terms of the parking functionality, cameras, laser scanners, and ultrasonic sensors are all involved in the process. This trio of technological components will assist bots enclosed in VW vehicles in locating appropriate areas for parking, and finding suitable charging points for vehicles. Volkswagen asserts that several such machines will be able to operate within a single garage.

Although this technology is very much on the horizon, VW has stated that a possible release date for the charging robot has yet to be decided. The German manufacturer is still cogitating over several factors before finalizing a release date, with the technology still perfecting its ability to recognise and utilize various charging ports.

The innovation by VW is seen as vital to the future of the electric car market. While many market observers believe that electric cars are here to stay, and will become increasingly important in a green future, there are still massive logistical problems to overcome before this grand vision is achieved.

VW electric vehicles
Charging stations will be important for the future of the electric car niche, With VW attempting to address a current shortage. Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns via Flickr.

Charger shortage

If EVs are going to become a fixture on our roads then the number of available chargers will need to increase significantly. As it stands currently, this is a defining issue for the industry, as there aren’t enough chargers to go around at present. Equally, it is logistically impossible to retrofit every parking spot with dedicated charging stations.

So technology such as the system that VW has developed could be crucial in the adoption of EVs going forward.

Volkswagen is just one of many companies that have invested heavily in electric car technology. Aside from the pioneering Tesla, traditional automakers such as Ford, Audi, BMW, and many others, have all revealed electric vehicles in recent years.

Underlining the increasing prominence of EVs, data firm IHS Markit suggests that the European market will experience a 75% increase in electric vehicle models in 2020 alone.

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