Ford has announced it has developed a prototype robot charging station to give disabled drivers and older people a much-needed helping hand. “For most of us, filling a car with fuel or charging an electric vehicle is a simple task. But for disabled drivers, people with reduced mobility and older people, it can be a significant challenge,” said the Blue Oval brand. The firm further says that disabled drivers have already identified ease of charging as an essential purchase consideration for EVs.

The new technology, custom-made by Dortmund University in Germany, allows drivers to operate the prototype robot charging station via their smartphone while remaining inside their electric vehicle. Once activated, the station cover slides open, and the charging arm extends towards the inlet with the help of a tiny camera. 

“In the future, the process could become fully automated”

The driver can monitor the charge status via the company’s FordPass smartphone application. When charging is complete, the arm retracts back into place. According to Ford, “The technology could enable disabled drivers to stay in the car while charging, or they could leave the car while the robot does all the work.”

Ford further says that, in the future, the process could become fully automated, with minimal to no driver involvement. For example, the driver would send the vehicle to the charging station, with the infrastructure ensuring it reaches and returns from its destination autonomously.