Ford recently revealed an innovative part of the company’s ongoing research into automated and hands-free charging solutions for electric vehicle drivers and autonomous EVs. Specifically, Ford has begun testing a prototype robot charging station built to make the charging process easier for disabled drivers with limited mobility.
The company has been aware that disabled drivers have already identified ease-of-charging as an essential purchase consideration for electric vehicles. Ford is trailing the robot charging station for the larger research project toward building hands-free charging solutions for electric vehicles and fully automatic charging for autonomous models.
After recent lab testing, Ford researchers are confident enough in the tech’s effectiveness to test robotic arm charging in real-life situations. After being activated, the charging station’s cover slides open and the charging arm extends towards the charging port with the guidance of a tiny camera. For the trial, drivers were able to monitor the charge status via the FordPass app. 3 After charging, the arm retracts back into place.
This helpful technology could also make it possible for disabled drivers to stay in the vehicle while charging, or they could leave the car while the robot gets the job done on its own. Once activated, the station cover slides open and the charging arm extends towards the inlet with the help of a tiny camera. Then after the vehicle has charged, the arm retracts back into place.
For the real-world testing, which is being carried out in Germany, drivers are able to monitor the charge status via the FordPass app. As part of the tech’s future, the charging process could become fully automated with minimal or no driver interaction needed. The driver would simply send the vehicle to the charging station, with the infrastructure ensuring it reaches and returns from its destination autonomously.
Coming next for the technology, Ford is collaborating with charging network provider Ionity to further enhance the current design while also looking into fast-charging variants. These advancements to the already-impressive automation capabilities of the charging arm could help integrate such solutions into valet parking setups so that vehicles could be sent to a robot charging point and returned to the driver fully topped up. Robotic chargers could also lend a helping hand to company fleet operators.
Want to learn more about Ford’s latest EV charging solutions and ongoing research? Stay tuned for the latest advancements at Carman Ford! Contact us today for more information about any of Ford’s innovative vehicles or to set up a test drive in New Castle at your convenience.