Autonomous Robots That Can Charge EVs

As global EV sales are rapidly increasing, automakers are working on faster charging solutions which in addition to conventional charging stations, include EV charging roads, battery swaps as well as autonomous robots that can charge electric vehicles without human intervention.

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Recently, Chinese automaker Hongqi’s R&D Institute has conducted a successful test of its first autonomous charging robot prototype. According to information, the robot can perform charging tasks using its robotic arm. It also has a built-in laser and infrared for obstacle detection and avoidance.

Prototype of Hongqi’s autonomous charging robot

Once the robot receives charging command, it can autonomously plan its path, open the charging port cover, and precisely plug the charging gun into the vehicle charging port. After the charging is completed, the robot autonomously returns to its parking position to recharge itself or enter the standby state. Hongqi said that in the future, as one of the charging solutions, autonomous charging robots will be incorporated with low-power DC charging, wireless charging, high-power charging, and other charging methods to further improve Hongqi’s product line and Hongqi users’ charging experience.

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Compared with traditional stationary charging stations, autonomous charging robots would not be restricted in terms of movement, especially in public parking lots. If too many charging parking spaces are designated for electric vehicles, it will take away parking spaces for fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. Autonomous charging robots can optimize parking spaces and do not require a human to physically un-plug the charging gun, effectively reducing the problem of overtime occupation of charging stations after charging is completed.

Prototype of Xiaomi’s EV charging robot

Earlier this year, Xiaomi also demonstrated an autonomous charging robot in operation. Xiaomi’s charging robot is essentially a small machine equipped with a robotic arm charging gun that can automatically charge the vehicle after the vehicle is parked in space without any human intervention.

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Chinese electric car startup AIWAYS has also revealed a mobile EV charging unit which is named as CARL. Other automakers including Hyundai of South Korea is also working on the autonomous charging robots called ACR.

CARL autonomous charging robot by AIWAYS

German auto giant Volkswagen has already announced the commercialization of its autonomous charging robot called Mobiler Laderoboter. The charging robot only needs a request initiated through a phone app, after which it can autonomously charge the vehicle by using its arm to plug the charging gun into the vehicle charging port. After charging is complete, the robot pulls out the charging gun and sends the charging gun back to the designated location for charging.

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