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Ford trials robot EV chargers to help disabled drivers

Ford is testing out robot EV chargers to assist disabled drivers.

The car giant has revealed the trial has passed the initial lab testing phase and is now being tested out in real life with car owners able to charge up their electric motors via their smartphone while staying put inside their vehicles.

The hope is for charging to become "fully automatic" for autonomous vehicles.

How it works is, "Once activated, the station cover slides open and the charging arm extends towards the inlet with the help of a tiny camera. For the trial, drivers were able to monitor the charge status via the FordPass app. 3 After charging, the arm retracts back into place."

The robot was developed in partnership with Dortmund University in Germany, and it's been suggested that the tech could also be "applied in combination with automated valet parking", which Ford showcased at the Munich Auto Show last year.

Birger Fricke, research engineer, Research and Innovation Center, Ford of Europe, commented: “Ford is committed to ensuring freedom of movement and right now refueling 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.”

Angela Aben, Employee Communications, Ford of Europe, who uses a power-assisted wheelchair to gain more mobility and independence, added: “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.”

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