Electrify America has partnered with Stable Auto to begin testing robotic arms designed to charge self-driving vehicles.
As autonomous vehicles come nearer and nearer to deployment on public streets and highways, those without a human supervisor inside need a way to get recharged without a person having to manually hook it up to a power supply. To answer this concern, Electrify America announced Thursday that the company has made an agreement with San Francisco-based EV charging tech company Stable Auto to "deploy robotic charging solutions for self-driving vehicles."
Ever wonder how future electric self-driving cars will be able to charge themselves? We are teaming up with @stable_auto and @Black_Veatch to bring human-less robotic charging solutions to future electric self-driving fleets. https://t.co/FV60xex6TN pic.twitter.com/LxbNDlDNv1— Electrify America (@ElectrifyAm) August 1, 2019
The pilot solution that will be tested in San Francisco would allow autonomous vehicles to be recharged without human intervention via the attachment of a robotic arm to a 150kW DC fast charger. According to Electrify America, if all goes according to plan, the location of this pilot demonstration with be that of Stable Auto's first commercial autonomous charger site which is expected to open next year.
Without a human driver or a human recharging operator, self-driving EVs will be programmed to "park themselves anywhere inside a standard parking space, and Stable's robot will automate the connection between the vehicle and the charger."
Creating this type of charging solution allows for self-driving vehicles to be truly autonomous; however, the official use of vehicles using this type of technology is still a ways away from legal deployment.