Researchers from the Technical University of Graz have developed a robot-controlled fast charging system for electrified vehicles in cooperation with industry partners. The special thing about the system is that it allows for serial charging of vehicles in different parking positions.
Thanks to a camera system, the robot, who uses a conductive CCS charging system, can find the charging plugs for the vehicles and autonomously charge them.
Project leader Barnhard Walzel underlined that the robot was capable of doing so without the need for vehicles to be especially adapted to the technology. The system even worked when vehicles were not parked in an exact position, solving most problems associated with stationary vehicle positioning and autonomous charging. The charging system is a “complex mechatronic system consisting of sensors, robot kinematics and robot control elements,” according to a university statement. Furthermore, the system works in different lighting conditions, meaning it could be used both indoors and outdoors.
The system was developed by the team from the Graz institute with their colleagues from the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision from the TU Graz as well as industry partners BMW, Magna Steyr, the Linz-based automation specialist KEBA, as well as the Austrian Society of Automotive Engineers (ÖVK) in Vienna.
The concept of developing an autonomous charging system is not new: Volkswagen and Kuka cooperated on a similar project last year, which also focused on the automation of the charging process. With both projects robots are being used to bridge the more flexible charging requirements.