Ford is testing a robotic charging station to make EV charging easier for disabled drivers by letting them control the process from their smartphone.
Ford is developing hands-free robotic charging stations to make it easier for disabled drivers to access EV charging. Although the initiative remains in a testing phase with just one prototype available for the trials, Ford is confident that this should speed up the acceptance of EVs by the general public. This is an attempt by the car manufacturer to include those who find charging EVs difficult in its vast EV roadmap.
As the buzz about electric mobility intensifies, automakers must convince drivers why they need to switch to cars powered by a battery instead of gas. Beyond being an environmentally friendly option, EVs are now being engineered to deliver satisfying experiences with improved speed, extended range, and gas savings. The U.S. government has heavily influenced the country’s journey to electrified transportation, with an initiative to provide motorists with affordable and accessible EV charging recently announced.
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While the robotic charging station is currently a research project at Dortmund University, Germany, it may be available for use in locations like disabled parking spaces, car parks, and private homes. If successful, this technology will be a game-changer, letting disabled drivers use their smartphone to initiate charging. Aside from enabling hands-free charging, the project is also looking to develop automated charging for autonomous vehicles. Ford’s innovative solutions are stimulated by a recent RIDC study which revealed that 61 percent of disabled people would be likely to purchase an EV if accessible charging is more readily available. After recording success in preliminary trials, Ford scientists have begun testing the innovation in real time. According to Ford, the station cover is programmed to automatically glide free upon activation. Afterward, the charging hand uses a tiny camera to move to the EV charging inlet and replenish the battery life.
Other Benefits Of Robot Charging Stations
Ford has prioritized technology as a handy tool for its EV crusade, with the robotic charging station among a suite of inventions targeting increased EV adoption. Aside from improving the appeal of EVs for disabled drivers, Ford hopes to add a few more use cases. The automaker intends to build on the potential successes of the robotic station, achieving quick and easy charging of company fleets. It may also be utilized to recharge EVs quicker using improved charging architecture. If successful, the charging process could be fully computerized, with the driver expected to simply send the vehicle to the charging station for the car to be charged and wait for it to be sent back without human assistance.
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Ford is positioning itself to become a top player in the EV market by undertaking multiple projects that demonstrate its allegiance to electrified mobility. Its electric truck, the F-150 Lightning, can power homes during outages using a combination of the Ford Charge Station Pro and Home Integration System. A future collaboration with IONITY, a charging network provider, will see the automaker enhance the robotic charging station’s capabilities. Ford is also experimenting with new robot charging solutions alongside Automated Valet Parking.