It's not exactly nice to look at, and it's slow, but this robot actually works, not to mention it takes up very little space.
Several automakers, including Tesla and Volkswagen, have teased the potential for automatic charging robots. Electrify America also has plans for automatic charging, which basically means there's no human interaction needed to plug in the car.
We've had gas stations forever, and they aren't automatic. In fact, many stations used to offer "full service," meaning someone would come out and pump gas for you while you remained in your car, but that's history as far as we're concerned. There are still some locations that have full service available, but it's increasingly rare.
In the case of the video above, we're not talking about public charging stations, but instead, home charging. We've seen some examples of future robots that would be able to plug your car in your garage, but it seems like excess. In the case of a handicapped person, or anyone without the physical ability to plug their car in, perhaps something like this would come in handy. However, for the average Joe or Jane, it seems they should just be able to plug in as usual.
With that said, we're quite impressed with this homemade automatic charging robot. As you can see, it's a prototype, and it doesn't look fancy or modern. In fact, the wires and electronics are still exposed. However, it works as designed, albeit slowly. Moreover, it doesn't take up much space as it's connected to the wall of your garage.
The video was produced by Tesla owner Pat Larson. He explains that he's using Raspberry Pi 4 and a camera to "see" the Tesla charging port. It looks for the charge port door reflector and the lighted Tesla logo in order to line up the charging cable with the port. The robot doesn't open the charge port door, but Larson can use the Tesla API for that purpose.
Check out the short video for more details. Then, let us know what you think. Do you have a better idea?