Watch Hyundai's Charging Robot In Action With The IONIQ 6 EV

Many of you may be too young to remember, but once, you could drive up to a rural gas station and have an attendant refuel your vehicle. Hyundai is cooking up a virtual version of this for electric vehicle owners. The company is showcasing a robot that can hook your car up to its charging port all on its own. Don't believe it? A minute-long YouTube video shows the system in action with Hyundai's impressive IONIQ 6.

Hyundai isn't the first car manufacturer to dream up such a concept, but it does seem to be the closest to making it a functional reality. In the video, you can see someone initiating the car's Remote Smart Parking Assist feature, which allows it to autonomously back into a charge-ready parking spot. 

This charging station has a robot attendant who can automatically recognize and open the charging port, grab the charging plug or "nozzle," and perfectly insert it to begin charging your vehicle. Once charging finishes, it unplugs your car, closes the charging door, and puts the plug back in its resting place.

How it works

Hyundai chose a delightfully simple name: an automatic charging robot, or "ACR" for short. Equipped with a 3D camera, the robot uses AI to navigate and maneuver around your vehicle and the charging station to do its bidding without bumping into its surroundings. It can accurately read your charging port's exact angle and location to ensure a perfect connection.

Real-world parking conditions were the testing grounds for the ACR's development. Hyundai says it considered weather and lighting to ensure it can work in various scenarios. For instance, the entire unit has been built to withstand dust and rain with an IP65 durability rating and is suitable for "extreme" conditions. It also houses sensors that can detect moving and stationary objects and can detect when it's being obstructed from carrying out its duty. The video shows that the ACR will cease activity until obstructions are cleared.

While this is neat from a convenience standpoint, Hyundai considers this an outright future necessity to support disabled vehicle owners who may find it too hard to handle charging plugs on their own, especially as they become thicker and heavier to support faster charging speeds. There's no clear roadmap on this tech's arrival and to whom it'll be available, but it's mature enough that Hyundai will showcase it at 2023's Seoul Mobility Show beginning March 31.