Dutch startup taps AI and robotics to automate EV charging 

3 min read

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As EVs surge into the mainstream, industry and consumers alike are looking for quicker and easier ways to charge. While advancements in battery technology promise the former, Dutch startup Rocsys believes automation will help make charging a whole lot more efficient. 

Rocsys has created a robotic arm guided by AI-powered computer vision technology that can convert any charger into an autonomous one. Once you pull up in your EV, the robot’s ‘eyes’ locate the vehicle, move the plug toward the socket, and charging begins. The robot essentially replaces the human hand.       

This makes the charging process easier for drivers but also caters to the next generation of vehicles that don’t have a driver at all. As Crijn Bouman, co-founder and CEO, puts it: “Why should a self-driving car need a human babysitter to charge?”

In 2019, Bouman, a serial entrepreneur, teamed up with fellow co-founders Joost van der Weijde, a robotics specialist, and Kanter van Deurzen, a software engineer, to found Rocsys. The partners believed that the fast-evolving fields of robotics and AI could accelerate the transition to green transport.

The startup, based in The Hague, now employees over 50 people. It is currently focusing on heavy-duty logistics applications like at shipyards and industrial plants, where autonomous chargers can mitigate the “risk of operator errors, ensure regulatory compliance and vehicle uptime, and minimise damage and human exposure to high-voltage equipment.”  

Rocsys already works with industry heavyweights like American forklift manufacturer Hyster, shipyard container handler maker Taylor Machine Works, and terminal operator SSA Marine.

In shipyards where terminal tractors are self-driving, or automated valet parking garages for businesses, or parking lots for autonomous municipal buses, it won’t make sense to have a person on standby just to plug the vehicles in and out. Autonomous charging is the way forward,” said Bouman. 

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