SEOUL -- To ease electric vehicle drivers' hassle of having to plug a charging cord into their cars every time, South Korean carmaker Hyundai has developed an intelligent robot that can communicate with vehicles and automatically connect a car to a charger.
Currently, electric vehicle (EV) drivers have to park their cars in a parking lot section where EV chargers are installed and manually plug the charger cord into their vehicle. The process is simple but it gets tricky when there are other cars parked close to an EV or when drivers cannot find an empty place next to a charger.
In a YouTube video released on March 21, Hyundai showed its one-armed automatic charging robot (ACR) interacting with IONIQ 5, Hyundai's compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). When the EV parks near a charging station connected to an ACR, the charging bot communicates with IONIQ 5 to open its charging port. The driver can start the charging session by using an app. The ACR can detect abnormal situations around the charging port and stop the charging process and resume when no anomaly is detected.
"The ACR will help to make EV-charging easier and more convenient, especially in dark environments. It will also improve accessibility, particularly for people with mobility barriers, as charging cables become thicker and heavier to enable high-speed charging," said Hyun Dong-jin, Head of Hyundai's Robotics Lab. "We will continue developing the ACR for increased safety and more convenience so that all EV customers can soon benefit from using it at charging stations."
Because many EV chargers are installed in outdoor environments without cover from rain and wind, Hyundai's researchers tested the ACR system outside its research and development center and tested the robot in different weather conditions. Researchers found that ACR was able to operate in extreme weather conditions and have waterproof and dust-proof capabilities.
Hyundai said that the company expects the ACR to significantly improve the convenience of EV charging. If the ACR is combined with autonomous parking systems, the charging robot system can sequentially charge multiple EVs parked nearby.
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