Designed to make electric vehicle charging easier for drivers with physical limitations, new technology developed by Ford could eventually become available to all automotive brands.
US car giant Ford is developing technology which allows electric vehicles to be recharged without human input.
Originally designed for drivers with physical limitations, Ford’s robotic charging station removes the need for occupants to get out of the car and plug in the charging cable, totally automating the process.
Built by Dortmund University in Germany, the project is expected to influence the next generation of electric vehicle chargers, taking away the hassle of plugging a car into a charger.
Operated through a smartphone app, the robot arm is able to locate and plug into the charging port thanks to a small camera, eliminating the need for any human intervention, allowing its occupants to stay inside or save time by letting the machine do the work.
While it will eventually benefit a broader spectrum of motorists, Ford of Europe says the system was originally designed to assist mobility-limited drivers.
“Ford is committed to ensuring freedom of movement and right now refuelling or charging your vehicle can be a major problem for some drivers. The robot charging station could be an added convenience for some people but – absolutely essential for others,” Ford research engineer Birger Fricke said in a media statement.
Ford also quoted in its press release comments by Angela Aben, a Ford employee who says refuelling her petrol-powered car is complicated by her power-assisted wheelchair. The robot arm removes this hassle for electric-car drivers with physical limitations.
“I stopped filling up my car myself years ago, because it became very strenuous,” Aben said in the Ford media statement.
“My husband does it for me. The introduction of a robot charging station would offer me a much greater level of independence.”
Ford Australia is yet to bring an electric vehicle to the local market.