WiTricity helps Yutong wirelessly charge driverless buses
WiTricity, the US provider of wireless charging systems, has announced cooperating with the Chinese manufacturer Yutong Bus to enable inductive charging of automated electric minibuses. They have already launched a first deployment in full commercial operation.
Wireless charging is being used commercially for the first time in Yutong’s automated (Level 4) Xiaoyu 2.0 minibus in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou. The vehicle seats ten passengers and has a range of 150 kilometres. The minibuses will be used for public transport in Zhengzhou.
In addition to the inductive charging points, the partially covered charging facility also has wired charging stations as a backup solution. But the plan is no longer to use the charging cables, as a human is still needed to plug them in, which obviously defeats the purpose of an automated, crewless minibus.
And even without self-driving vehicles, WiTricity considers its technology superior in transit scenarios, “where the heavy and awkward cords and cables required could contribute to slips and falls, the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims for commercial drivers,” so the statement. As transit applications for autonomous shuttles and buses grow worldwide, wireless charging will play a key role in keeping those vehicles on the road, says WiTricity.
“With the global increase in applications for autonomous shuttles and buses, wireless charging will play a key role in keeping these vehicles on the road,” the US company writes. But WiTricity also sees potential applications in automated freight transport.
“We are so excited to see this first real demonstration with YuTong Bus of wireless charging powering autonomy at scale,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “As autonomy progresses, the logistics of charging and servicing will become even more critical. WiTricity wireless EV charging can enable the next generation of electrified transportation and logistics.”
WiTricity has already deployed its wireless charging in FAW’s HongQi and Genesis’ GV60 car models. Studies are also underway for taxis, showing inductive charging in queues.
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