Hyundai offers its future vision for intelligent park'n'charge stations for autonomous cars
Hyundai has released a concept video detailing how its future self-driving cars will drive themselves to charging stations, top up their batteries and make way for other vehicles. But … Why?
According to the video (embedded below), self-driving Hyundai owners in the future will be able to hit a button on that sends their cars off to charge by themselves. The cars will go to a wireless charging facility, sit in a charging space to fill up the battery, and then move to other non-charging parking spots to free up the chargers. When you need the car back, it will drive itself back to you, and you're off.
Thus, the car would have communications with the charging center, and would know which spots were open and occupied, and if a car at the back needed to get out while parked in by two or three others, the system could shuffle them all around to make that happen.
Hyundai says it is "considering commercializing the technology upon the launch of level 4 autonomous vehicle around the year 2025" but, apart from the fact that seems a bit obvious to us, there's a few questions around how such a concept might play out in the autonomous driving future.
Firstly, if it's a Hyundai system and not something that's adopted as part of a self driving car standard, then it'd only work in Hyundai charging stations with other Hyundais. How many charging stations would the company need to build per city to guarantee drivers could get their cars back ready to roll in any kind of convenient fashion?
Secondly, since this relies on full driverless autonomy, there's a good argument that people will find car services far more convenient, cheap and timely than owning their own cars. Why pay to have something sit around and not be used?
That said, those who do own driverless cars will need to overcome some of the problems the concept addresses – more likely on the parking than charging front, given that most charging will be done at home.
Interestingly, at the end of the release, Hyundai outlines the timing for its autonomous roadmap: Level 4 autonomy by 2025, Level 5 by 2030. Click through if you need a refresher on what the 6 levels of self-driving autonomy mean.