Volkswagen unveils R2-D2-like charging robot for electric vehicles

Volkswagen unveils R2-D2-like charging robot that autonomously steers and refills parked electric vehicles while making noises similar to the Star Wars character

  • Volkswagen’s robot that autonomous charges parked electric vehicles
  • The robot tows a battery pack to a vehicle and communicates with the EV
  • It prompts the vehicle to open its charging socket flap and plugs right in
  • The robot will be activated with a companion app and will roll out in 2021 

Volkswagen has unveiled a prototype of its mobile charging robot that wheels over to electric vehicles and refills them with power.

The fully autonomous machine is designed for parking areas, such as underground garages, and is set to be rolled out sometime next year.

The robot tows a battery pack to a parked vehicle, which it prompts to open the charging socket flap, then connects the plug and decouples once charging is complete.

The prototype is inspired by a 2019 proof-of-concept and is fitted with large blinking eyes and R2-D2 noises.

Volkswagen has unveiled a prototype of its mobile charging robot that wheels over to electric vehicles and refills them with power

Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, said: ‘A ubiquitous charging infrastructure is, and remains, a key factor in the success of electric mobility.’

‘Our charging robot is just one of several approaches, but is undoubtedly one of the most visionary.’

The charging robot is activated via an app after a driver parks their vehicle in a designated area.

Then the wheeled machine attaches to a battery pack and steers towards the EV. 

The fully autonomous machine is designed for parking areas, such as underground garages, and is set to be rolled out sometime next year. The robot tows a battery pack to a parked vehicle, which it prompts to open the charging socket flap, then connects the plug and decouples once charging is complete

The entire charging process takes place without any human involvement and it can be completed for multiple vehicles at once

The entire charging process takes place without any human involvement and it can be completed for multiple vehicles at once. 

The prototype is inspired by a 2019 proof-of-concept and is fitted with large blinking eyes and R2-D2 (pictured) noises

Once the vehicle is fully charged, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.

‘Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector,’ said Schmall. 

‘We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures.’

‘The mobile charging robot and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions.’

The robot is set to be unleashed in 2021, but Volkswagen says it has successfully reached prototype status and will now be comprehensively further developed. 

The next step is to develop a companion app that will facilitate the autonomous charging process

The next step is to develop a companion app that will facilitate the autonomous charging process.

 ‘Our developments do not just focus on customers’ needs and the technical prerequisites of electric vehicles,’ said Schmall. 

‘They also consider the economic possibilities they offer potential partners.’ 

‘They enable the operators of parking structures to quickly and simply ‘electrify’ every parking space by utilizing the mobile charging robot.’

‘This reduces any construction work needed, at the same time reducing the potential cost.’

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