Ford trialling robot charging arms to help disabled drivers

Ford has developed a prototype robot charging station to help disabled drivers easily charge their vehicles. The technology would allow a driver to use their smartphone to activate a robot arm connecting the charger to the vehicle.

Ford is testing the technology as part of a research project to develop a hands-free charging solution for its vehicles.

The charging solution would help EVs and fully autonomous vehicles charge without needing a human to plug them in.

Following successful lab tests, Ford is now testing the technology in real-life situations.

Once a charger is activated, the station cover slides open, and the charging arm extends. The charger uses a small camera to locate the outlet and plug the charger in.

After charging, the arm retracts back into place and the station cover slides closed.

For the trial, drivers can monitor the charge status via the FordPass app.

Ford is working with Dortmund University on the charger build and hopes to install the chargers in parking lots, private homes and underground garages.

In addition to robotic charging, Ford is also researching robot charging solutions with automated valet parking. Ford showcased that technology at IAA in Munich last year.

There is currently no timeline for either technology to make it to market.

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