Watch This New Charging Robot Refill an EV’s Battery All by Itself

·2 min read

Hyundai wants to make charging your EV easier—by taking care of the task for you.

The South Korean automaker has finally shared footage of its EV charging robot prototype in action. The droid will allow drivers to fill up their battery without lifting a finger.

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Hyundai has been teasing its automatic charging robot (ACR) since last year, but, as New Atlas points out, the new clip is our first real look at the machine. In the brief video, a woman pulls up to a filling station in the upcoming Ioniq 6, exits the battery-powered sedan and engages its autonomous parking feature before walking off. The EV then maneuvers itself into the charging area, at which point the ACR moves towards the four-door, communicates with the car to open its charging port, then uses its arm to insert its cord and begin refilling the battery.

Hyundai's automatic charging robot prototype
Hyundai’s automatic charging robot prototype

The video makes the process seem simple enough, but that’s most likely due to all the work that has gone into developing the robot. In particular, 3-D-camera-based AI technology is used to determine the location of the vehicle and its port and then to connect the charging cord. The droid, which is designed to operate in all environments, also features anomaly detection to stop people from walking into the cord and will alert drivers when their vehicle is ready to drive again.

“The ACR will help to make EV-charging easier and more convenient, especially in dark environments,” Dong Jin Hyun, the head of Hyundai’s Robotics Lab, said in a statement. “It will also improve accessibility, particularly for people with mobility barriers, as charging cables become thicker and heavier to enable high-speed charging.

Hyundai may be best known for its cars and SUVs, but that could change in the years to come. The automaker acquired US-based Boston Dynamics, the maker of Spot the robot dog and Atlas the bipedal humanoid robot, in late 2020. The last few years have also seen the brand unveil a number of robotic concepts that have ranged from somewhat sensible (the champagne-carrying MobED) to truly outlandish (the Moon-traversing Tiger X-1). And as ACR shows, the marque sees no reason why the two worlds can’t mix with one another.

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