Dutch start-up lets robot plug in your EV for you
A Dutch start-up called Rocsys, housed in ‘RoboValey’ near the technical university of Delft ( The Netherlands), lets a robot plug in your electric vehicle for you without any human intervention. It has now found the necessary investment money to develop its patented, fully automatic charging system further.
After initial funding by UNIIQ, a 22-million-euros investment fund providing start-ups an initial capital on a proof-of-concept base, it has now convinced venture capital fund Forward.one from Amstelveen (The Netherlands) and Estonian investment fund Superangel to step in too.
Robot doing all the work
With the robot doing all the work, people don’t have to manipulate the high-voltage plugs, making the process faster and safer. The system Rocsys developed uses ‘soft robotics’ and computer-operated cameras to scan the vehicle and lead the robot arm to the socket of the electric vehicle. Then it plugs in the charging cable automatically.
It can ‘sense’ vibrations or movements when a person gets into the car or it ‘feels’ resistance when a person’s hand is in its way and stop the movement immediately, for instance. Something classic robot arms don’t do.
Autonomously parking and charging
The technology can make life easier for owners of electric vehicles, but Rocsys is targeting in the first place professional fleet owners that have to deal with charging multiple electric vehicles. And in a further stage, it will be useful to have EVs charge ‘themselves’ after driving to the charging spot and parking autonomously, among other thinkable applications.
With the new money found, the Rocsys technology will now be tested and optimized in a ‘live’ environment in the ‘Green Village’. The latter is a living lab or ‘mini village’ packed with the newest materials and technology for testing, built by the technical university, TU Delft.
Students as ‘guinea pigs’
Students live there as ‘guinea pigs’, and they don’t mind ‘for the benefit of a technological breakthrough’. One example of the kind of technology tested in real-life conditions is that the student houses will be heated with hydrogen, as a test for the replacement of natural gas used today in the majority of Dutch households.
The team behind Rocsys comes from the same TU Delft environment and are experienced engineers with Crijn Bouman (co-founder of fast charging stations company Epyon), Joost van der Weijde (soft robotics engineer and co-founder of SpringScan), and Kanter van Deurzen (co-founder of the RoboValley-based computer vision technology company Fizyr).
RoboValley is a center for robotics, powered by the Robotics Institute of TU Delft for bringing together researchers, governments, and enterprises that are active in the field of robotics.