In a world where cars are able to drive themselves, the question of how they will be refueled often comes up.
In the case of electric cars, we've already seen some solutions for automatic charging, and now Volkswagen has thrown its hat into the ring.
The automaker on Thursday unveiled a concept for a mobile charging robot that looks like it might have been a prop on a “Star Wars” movie. However, the smart concept not only solves the solution of how to charge an EV when there's no driver present, but also how to charge multiple cars in a garage that doesn't have the infrastructure in place for charging in individual bays.
The robot transports a mobile battery able to hold 25 kilowatt-hours of charge to and from a waiting car and a charging dock. When called via an app or vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, it autonomously drives to the car and then connects the battery via an extending arm. The robot then leaves the battery to charge the car and drives off to connect up another waiting car.
Multiple sensors on the robot guide it through the parking garage. And depending on the size of the garage, several charging robots can be employed simultaneously so that multiple vehicles can be attended to.
Right now the mobile charging robot is strictly a concept, though don't be surprised to see it, or something like it, show up at a parking garage in the not too distant future. It would be a great companion for garages also equipped with autonomous valet systems currently being developed.