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VW's prototype charging robot can find your EV in the parking garage

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Volkswagen

Tesla isn't the only car maker with grand visions of EV charging robots. Volkswagen has created a prototype charging robot that would navigate to your car in the parking garage, saving you the trouble of hunting for a coveted (and likely rare) EV charging spot. The autonomous helper would hitch itself to a "battery wagon" at a base station and deliver a combined 50kW to your EV on request, whether it's through an app or a smart grid. While that won't be enough to fully recharge most EVs, it should give you plenty of range for your ride home.

Cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors help the bots both navigate parking areas and find a car's charging port. Several of these machines could operate in a single garage.

VW said it hadn't "yet" decided on a possible release date for the charging robot. A rollout would likely depend on a number of factors, including the ability to recognize and use various charging ports. These bots wouldn't be very useful if they only supported VW-made cars, after all.

Technology like this could be vital whenever it does arrive. If EVs are going to dominate the market, there will need to be enough chargers to go around -- and it won't be realistic to outfit every parking spot with a dedicated station. This could ensure that there's always a recharge available when you need it, even in parking garages where dedicated charging spots would be impractical.