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Ford trials automated EV charging station technology for people with reduced mobility

Carmaker Ford has revealed a prototype robot charging station it has been developing with the aim of providing an efficient and easier way for disabled drivers, and those with reduced mobility, to take advantage of charging an electric car on the go.

The driver uses a smartphone app to control the robot meaning the driver doesn’t need to leave the vehicle to get a charge. Alternatively, they can leave the vehicle and let the robot do the work!

“I stopped filling up my car myself years ago, because it became very strenuous. My husband does it for me. The introduction of a robot charging station would offer me a much greater level of independence.” said Angela Aben, Employee Communications, Ford of Europe, who uses a power-assisted wheelchair to gain more mobility and independence.

Currently being tested in real-life situations, the charger uses a small camera to locate the precise location of the electric car charging port, once complete the robotic arm retracts back into the unit.

Ford hopes that this new tech has multiple applications, from controlling more powerful chargers safely, to using robotic automation in large fleet situations and even in home-settings.

“Ford is committed to ensuring freedom of movement and right now refuelling or charging your vehicle can be a major problem for some drivers. The robot charging station could be an added convenience for some people but – absolutely essential for others.” Birger Fricke, research engineer, Research and Innovation Center, Ford of Europe.

Ford has also confirmed a follow-up project with IONITY to further improve its robotic charging station technology.