VW and Bosch trialling autonomously recharging electric cars

LAS VEGAS: German manufacturers Bosch and Volkswagen are trialling a new technology that allows electric cars to drive themselves to a charging station and recharge their batteries without the need for a driver.

The vehicles then look for a free space in the car park on their own, German automotive supplier Bosch said, demonstrating a collaboration with Volkswagen software subsidiary Cariad at the Jan 9-12 CES tech fair here.

The two say their solution could end waiting times in front of the charging points and fines for drivers who do not drive their cars away quickly enough once charging is complete.

The driverless charging programme, being tested in Bosch's development site in Ludwigsburg, Germany, uses a robotic arm to plug in and remove the car's charging cable.

A Bosch system allowing vehicles to automatically find a space in car parks has already existed for some time and is currently available to drivers of certain cars in a multi-storey car park at Stuttgart Airport in Germany, with further car parks to follow, Bosch says.

However Bosch isn't the only company trying to make manual parking and recharging a thing of the past.

The South Korean company HL Mando is attempting to automate car parking, albeit without the need for additional technology in the vehicle.

At CES, the company is showcasing a system called Parkie - a flat platform with electric motors that drives under the cars, lifts them up and moves them around the car park.

HL Mando says this approach uses parking space more efficiently, since Parkie can also drive sideways and is not dependent on the turning radius of the cars.

The platform can move vehicles weighing up to three tonnes and one battery charge should last up to five hours. HL Mando wants to sell the platforms to car park operators for around US$100,000 (RM465,000) each.
Autos Volkswagen