Automotive supplier Bosch and Volkswagen Group subsidiary Cariad are demonstrating tech that allows EVs to park and charge themselves.
Announced at CES 2024, Bosch is combining a previously-shown automated parking system with a charging robot that automatically plugs into the vehicle once it’s positioned in a parking space. Once it’s finished charging, the vehicle will then move itself to another space so that it doesn’t block the charger, according to a Bosch press release.
Volkswagen Cariad and Bosch automated parking and EV charging
Testing is underway at Bosch’s “development parking garage” in Ludwigsburg, Germany, the release said. The automated parking component is also being tested sans charging at the Cariad staff garage in Ingolstadt, with cars driving themselves to and from parking spaces, but without plugging in.
Bosch considers its automated parking system to provide SAE Level 4 autonomy, meaning cars can drive themselves under certain conditions. The company has been testing the system at a parking garage at Stuttgart Airport in Germany (with Mercedes-Benz) for about a year, and plans to expand to other sites in Germany as well.
Mercedes-Benz and Bosch automated valet parking at Stuttgart Airport
In addition to Bosch’s demonstrations, there have been several other projects involving automated charging and potentially self-driven vehicles—but it’s all seemed like early-stage work whereas these ideas may eventually be production-bound. As Ford has pointed out with one of its robotic charging tests, it’s not just for convenience but a matter of accessibility for disabled drivers who may not be able to handle bulky charging cables.
SAE methodology released late last year finally set the same language for pad alignment for inductive charging, so that may increasingly be an option. Conversely, Ram has shown a Ram Charger inductive charging robot that would allow fast-charging to robotically go to the vehicle, rather than having the vehicle drive itself to the charger.