25 October 2013
Denso Corp. is developing technology that uses smartphones and satellite global positioning systems to allow drivers to program their electric cars to travel short distances to charging stations and return to parking spots without anyone behind the wheel.
Denso demonstrated its multiple-vehicle parking and charging technology system earlier this month in Tokyo at the 20th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems.
Using a satellite traffic control system, the new technology enables unmanned parked electric cars and plug-in gas-electric hybrid vehicles to automatically move to a charging spot located in their parking lot. After charging is finished, the car will automatically return to its parking spot.
Denso said the new technology is designed to enable vehicles in a parking lot of an apartment building or other facilities to charge themselves efficiently during the night when drivers are asleep.
Using their smartphones, drivers first set the time to start charging their cars. When the set time comes, the traffic control system directs the parked car equipped with GPS to take a certain route.
The vehicle will automatically drive to a noncontact charging space with a margin of error of 10 centimeters or less.
The vehicles will be mounted with laser radar units to detect obstacles, as well as video cameras to detect white lines on the ground to prevent collisions with one another in the parking lot.
Currently, charging the battery of an electric car typically requires several hours, and most parking areas only have room to accommodate just one charging area.
Denso noted it can be inconvenient for drivers to drive their vehicles during the night to charging stations.
Company officials said the new system will help alleviate such problems.
However, it will take more time and testing to fine tune the system before it can be made available commercially.