Volkswagen shows robot-assisted rapid charger
Undergoing ongoing research, the e-smartConnect system uses a LBR iiwa lightweight robotic arm developed by Kuka to plug a rapid charging cable into the car.
Volkswagen says the technology is a response to growing battery capacities, which require more current and thus thicker, stiffer and heavier DC cables for rapid charging, which can be awkward for drivers to use.
The charging station can communicate with the e-Golf demonstration car, which is then able to park within a set point in the bay, positioning the charging port within a 20x20cm area. A camera on the robot allows it to locate the port and connect the cable.
Rather than having a single robot for each bay, a conveyor belt moves the unit onto the next charging point once the vehicle is connected. This also means the car can be unplugged once fully charged, freeing up the charging point for another user.