Ford experiments with car charging robots – TopAuto
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Friday / 12 August 2022
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Ford experiments with car charging robots

Ford is developing robotic charging stations that will allow motorists to recharge their electric vehicles (EVs) without exiting the car.

Alternatively, drivers may be able to pull up to the station and leave the car while the charging process is handled automatically.

The technology is currently being designed to assist elderly and disabled drivers who may find it difficult to leave the car.

The project is part of a research goal to develop hands-free charging solutions for EVs and automatic charging solutions for autonomous vehicles, said Ford.

How it works

Once a car is parked in front of the station, the activated charging unit will open and extend an arm towards the EV’s inlet.

This is possible thanks to a tiny camera attached to the charging arm, said Ford.

For the trial of the charging unit, testers were able to monitor the process using the FordPass App, which provided updates on the vehicle’s battery level.

Once the car is fully charged, the arm will automatically retract itself back into place.

“Looking ahead, the process could become fully automated, with minimal or no driver involvement,” said the company.

“The driver would simply send the vehicle to the charging station, with the infrastructure ensuring it reaches and returns from its destination autonomously.”

Where it works

The robotic charging station is currently in testing and is not publicly available, though the process has now shifted to experiments with real-world situations.

In the future, these autonomous charging devices could be installed in disabled parking bays, car parks, and even private homes.

Additionally, this technology could be used for the fast and efficient charging of corporate vehicle fleets, said Ford.

It is also possible for more powerful chargers to be fitted, allowing EVs to reach a full battery in a much shorter timeframe.

Furthermore, the manufacturer’s infotainment systems will be able to assist drivers with locating and paying for charging stations via the Ford Charge Assist app.

The automaker is also looking into combining the charging technology with autonomous valet parking, which could potentially automate the entire process for owners once they leave their cars.


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