Daniel Susco
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Researchers Build Robot Electric Car Charger That Doesn’t Look Like a Giant Metal Centipede

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In recent “Hey, neat!” news, a team at Graz University of Technology has actually built a robot electric car charger. This is the second such system we have heard of — the other being Tesla’s weirdly tentacle-like segmented snake thing.

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This new project trumps Tesla’s weird metal snake, though. It does so by working on any vehicle backed into the spot. That is, ones that could use the CCS fast-charging system, although it could apparently be easily adapted to other charging cables. That’s because the robot uses cameras to recognize the charging port, then lines up the plug to where the port actually is. So, even if you park crooked (like I do), it could still plug you in.

 Robot car charger from Graz University of Technology

Robot car charger from Graz University of Technology

This robot system is the work of a group headed by Bernhard Walzel, and several automotive and robotics companies backed it. Helpfully, the university released a couple photos of the robot charger.

 Robot car charger from Graz University of Technology

The design vibe here is a lot friendlier than Tesla’s apocalyptic car-charging snake tentacle. Presumably this could be dressed up slightly more with some plastic panels. It would certainly cover some of the trailing wires and protect the moving parts from the elements.

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 Robot car charger from Graz University of Technology

Otherwise, this seems relatively compact (certainly smaller than a gasoline pump), and I can’t say that I would be the tiniest bit unhappy if I pulled into a special parking spot at the grocery store (or the gas station, since I’m already used to stopping there for a fill-up and a candy bar) and the robot butler plugged my car in for me. You could even put a little bow tie on the robot arm.

Of course, I have no clue how much this would actually cost commercially, and neither do the researchers, but several companies are apparently working on this same sort of technology.

News Source: Electrek