Wireless charging meets automated parking
The importance of connected and autonomous is well known. How the potential is utilised however, and the creativity of the ecosystem remains interesting. The engineers at Kia – Hyundai have come up with an original idea aiming to solve potential congestion at charging stations.
In reality, the concept solves 2 issues at the same time: charging the car and finding a parking space. Based in Asia, the South-Koreans are very well aware of the impact of increasing urbanisation and a growing middle class on city traffic. Especially the Chinese megacities as well as the metropolitan areas of Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh were not built for car traffic; congestion and parking issues are a direct results.
From Seoul, a car city
Today, roughly half of the South Korean population (about 25 million people) lives in the Seoul Capital Area. This population boom is recent: post-war migration and a booming economy has attracted people from the countryside into the city.
Until the 90s, Seoul’s city Government’s strategy consisted of quickly adapting the infrastructure in function of an increasing number of cars: more highways, multi-lane overpasses, wide and comfortable city streets with parking space on either side.
Before the end of the century however, it was clear that the city would never be able to cope with a continuous growth of car penetration. By then, the total number of cars in Seoul had already reached 50 times the volume of cars in 1970.
To Seoul, a connected city
In the beginning of the 2000s, the city started an ambitious program to overhaul completely how people move around. The objective? To relief pressure of urban living.
From car-centric, the city became pedestrian-centric. The subway was extended to 9 lines, new buses, much more comfortable than the previous ones, were ordered from local manufacturers and on top of that, all of the components of city traffic became connected.
The result is that the city can adapt traffic; cars, taxis, buses, roads and subway communicate with a central grid. All information is fed into an instant predictive traffic management that translates directly into roadside indicators. Decongestion can be steered with technology, and the results in Seoul are impressive.
In this context, it’s not surprising that the local manufacturers translate a similar concept into car technology. Avoiding congestion should not only happen on city level, it also needs to happen on car level. If parking and charging of electric vehicles can potentially cause additional pressure on urban living, the OEMs need to be creative and find a way out.
How it works?
A car that needs parking or charging is directed to the next park & charge garage. The driver leaves the car at the entrance and, if the battery status is low, the car will drive itself to a wireless charging pad. Once charged, the car will park itself in a different spot and another car can start the charging process. The individual technologies are already available in production cars; it’s again a matter of connecting.