Volkswagen has revealed a robot intended for fully autonomous charging of vehicles in restricted parking areas, like underground car parks. “A ubiquitous charging infrastructure is and remains a key factor in the success of electric mobility. Our charging robot is just one of several approaches, but is undoubtedly one of the most visionary,” explained Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Components’ CEO.
The robot – which VW says is started via an app or Car-to-X communication – operates totally autonomously. According to the company, it independently steers the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it: from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug and decoupling it. The entire charging process takes place without any human involvement whatsoever.
To charge several vehicles at the same time, the mobile robot moves a trailer, essentially a mobile energy storage unit, to the vehicle, connects it up and then uses this energy storage unit to charge the battery of the electric vehicle. The energy storage unit stays with the vehicle during the charging process. In the meantime, the robot charges other electric vehicles. Once the charging service has ended, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.
According Schmall, “Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector. We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures. The mobile charging robot and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions.”