Volkswagen has shown a prototype of an autonomous charging robot that can independently charge electric cars. According to the car manufacturer, the charging robot is intended for parking garages, for example, and can transport mobile battery packs to electric cars.
According to Volkswagen, the autonomous charging robot works with mobile battery packs, which the company calls trailers. When a driver parks an electric car, the driver can indicate to the charging robot via an app that the car needs to be charged. The charging robot then picks up a mobile battery pack, takes it to the car, opens the tailgate of the electric car and connects the mobile battery to the car. As soon as the car is charged or the mobile battery is empty, the robot will pick up the mobile battery again.
According to the car manufacturer, the charging robot can handle multiple mobile batteries, so that several electric cars can be charged at the same time. Volkswagen states that the autonomous charging robot is a quick and simple solution for providing all parking spaces in parking garages with charging facilities. Individual parking spaces in parking garages still have to be equipped with charging stations.
It is not clear when Volkswagen expects to have the system ready. The company emphasizes that the loading robot is still under development. One of the conditions for the concept, according to the car manufacturer, is that the autonomous robot can communicate with the electric car. Volkswagen therefore wants the car itself to be able to indicate to the charging robot when it needs to be charged. This communication is also necessary to be able to open the tailgate of the car, for example.
Volkswagen announced the charging robots last year, when it spoke about battery packs of 25kWh that can fast charge up to 50kW. With cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors, the charging robots can drive autonomously and react to obstacles.
It goes without saying that the autonomous charging robot will be able to handle all of the Volkswagen Group’s electric cars, but it is unclear whether the charging robot will also be able to handle cars from other car manufacturers. Volkswagen does talk about ‘economic opportunities for potential partners’. The German car manufacturer is collaborating with Ford on electric cars, among others.