The future is autonomous, and technology to support the claim is already being revealed to the public on an almost weekly basis.
On Sunday, Volkswagen released a short teaser video on YouTube, debuting its new, mobile charging robot which can operate with full autonomy.
The robots, when fully operational, will be able to haul compact battery units around parking lots, connecting and disconnecting them to cars that request a recharge, without the aid of the driver. The robot’s automatic duties also include opening and closing the charging port.
Each battery is expected to hold up to 25 kWh of energy, with DC charging of up to 50 kW with a CCS adapter. Robots will haul them around parking lots, sometimes also disconnecting and reconnecting to new mobile batteries, when needed.
The robots will also be fitted with a number of cameras, lasers, and ultrasonic sensors, to help them navigate parking lots and potential obstacles, ultimately allowing them to operate autonomously.
On the cusp of 2021, autonomy is a hot commodity in all forms. Amazon has revealed prototypes for a robo-taxi, for example. And while other companies have hinted at mobile, autonomous charging systems like the one Volkswagen has shared, none have depicted one that looks to work so well and seamlessly.
With autonomous technology barely beyond reach, the world can look forward to systems like Volkswagen’s mobile charging robots. And we don’t even have to look forward very far to see it. It’s unclear when and if this prototype will ever become a reality.
Don’t Forget About the Tesla ‘Snake’ Charger!
But it’s also worth noting five years ago, Tesla debuted a ‘snake’ charger prototype that could automatically find its way to the vehicle’s charging port on a Model S.
The rationale was that self-driving Teslas would be able to drive coast-to-coast in the United States, and recharging at Superchargers would become fully automatic. The promise of autonomous Teslas are not quite here yet, but recent FSD beta developments do show a promising future.
Back in October, Musk provided an update on this charger that’s still in the pipeline, calling it the “metal gear snake autocoupler”, when responding to a question about FSD and the latter being able to drive across states.
Yeah, provided we do our metal gear snake autocoupler
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 8, 2020
One day in the future, the rationale is you’ll be able to use Tesla’s Smart Summon feature to call your vehicle to come pick you up, with the car able to charge itself along the way at Superchargers thanks to this ‘snake autocoupler’. Now that will be amazing to see.
Contributing Writer at TeslaNorth.com from California’s southeast Bay Area. Covers electric vehicles, space exploration, and all things tech. Loves a good cup of coffee, live music and puppies. Buying a Tesla? Click here to get 1,000 free Supercharging miles.