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Ford Develops Prototype Robot Charging Station for Disabled Drivers That Own EVs

For most people, filling your car with fuel or charging an EV can be nothing more than a simple task. However, disabled drivers, people with reduced mobility and older people can struggle with these things, which is why Ford has developed a prototype robot charging station that you can operate via a smartphone app from inside your EV.
Ford's prototype robot charging station 6 photos
Ford's prototype robot charging stationFord's prototype robot charging stationFord's prototype robot charging stationFord's prototype robot charging stationFord's prototype robot charging station
This means disabled drivers can stay in the car while the vehicle is charging, or if they can, leave the car while the robot takes care of everything.

After initial lab testing, Ford will now trial the robot charging station in real-life situations. Once operational, the station’s cover slides open, and a charging arm extends towards the inlet with the help of a small camera. Afterwards, the arm retracts back into place. During the trial run, drivers were able to monitor the charge status via their FordPass app.

Such charging stations, custom-made by Dortmund University in Germany, could soon find their way into disabled parking spaces, car parks or at private homes – further applications could also include the charging of company fleets.

The goal here is for the process to one day become fully automated, with minimal or even no driver involvement. This is where the driver would simply send the car off to the charging station, but more advancements in autonomous tech are needed for such a system to become foolproof.

“Ford is committed to ensuring freedom of movement and right now refueling 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,” said Ford of Europe research engineer, Birger Fricke.

The Blue Oval is researching robot charging stations in combination with Automated Valet Parking. The latter tech was demonstrated last year at IAA in Munich.



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