Autonomous technology has come a long way in the past few years. From vacuums to automobiles, more and more people are trusting autonomous programs to handle the mundane chores of life. So, why not adapt that technology to take care of another tedious task like electric vehicle charging?
That’s exactly what Continental’s production service provider Continental Engineering Services (CES) plans to develop with Austrian startup Volterio. Volterio already offers automatic EV charging units and CES previously designed its own product before the two firms came together for the development and production partnership.
The fully-automated charging robot consists of a component attached to the undercarriage of the vehicle along with a charging unit positioned on the floor. When the driver rolls into a parking space equipped with the system, the two components connect via ultra-broadband communication. This allows the floor charging unit to automatically align with the undercarriage receiver.
While the system uses ultra-broadband communication for alignment, the physical connection between the units ensures no power loss during charging. Drivers don’t need to park their vehicle accurately either, as the floor unit adjusts its position up to 30 cm (11.8 inches). Ultimately, the autonomous charging robot eliminates the need to manually connect a vehicle to a wall charger/socket, making EV ownership that much easier.
“Our charging robot is a real step in the evolution of making electric mobility more convenient and suitable for everyday use,” claimed CES managing director Dr. Christoph Falk-Gierlinger. “With Volterio, we have the ideal partner for developing an efficient and simple solution for charging electric vehicles. Through this cooperation, we are combining the creativity and flexibility of a young start-up with the development experience and automotive expertise of Continental Engineering Services.”
Under the agreement, Volterio will be responsible for developing the system to near-production status by mid-2022. From there, CES will oversee the project as it approaches volume production in Germany by 2024.
“With Continental, we have the perfect partner at our side to industrialize our automated charging technology and achieve success in a growing market,” added Volterio managing director Christian Flechl. “Continental has the necessary production capacity and scaling capabilities.”