Electronics and Semiconductors

Video: Ford tests robot charging station for EVs

27 July 2022

Ford Motor Company is testing a prototype robot charging station that allows drivers to operate it via smartphone from inside electric vehicles (EVs).

The technology could be used for disabled or elderly drivers to make it more convenient to charge their car while remaining in the car.

The robot charging is part of a research project by Ford to develop hands-free charging solutions for EVs and fully automatic charging for autonomous vehicles. Ford is putting the robot charging stations to the test in real-life situations.

How it works

After the robot arm slides open, it extends toward the charging port in a vehicle with the help of a tiny camera. Drivers monitor the status of the charge via Ford’s app and after charging is completed, the arm retracts back into place.

Developed by Dortmund University, the charging stations could be installed at disabled parking spaces, in car parks or at private homes. Other applications could include fast and efficient charging of company fleets that would be automated via the robot. The robot charging stations could also support powerful charging in a shorter time, Ford said.

The next steps could include the system becoming fully automated with minimal or no driver involvement, which could become even more valuable to fleet managers and logistics companies. The driver would simply send the vehicle to a charging station with the infrastructure, ensuring it reaches and returns from its destination autonomously.

Other electrification projects

Ford said this research project complements its move to electrification and a follow-up project will look to further improve the robot charging station with vendor IONITY.

Additionally, Ford is researching how to use robot charging with automated valet parking, such as the project that was introduced at last year’s IAA in Munich, Germany.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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