Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric
Volkswagen self-driving concept car, which it calls Sedric

The Volkswagen Group is researching ways in which robots can be used in the future when cars become more electrified and computerised as a result of increasing demand for clean and autonomous vehicles. 

The German automaker, which owns the Audi, Bentley, Seat, Porsche and Lamborghini brands among others, is working one of the world’s largest industrial robotics and automation providers, Kuka, to research and develop a number of ideas.

The current area of interest for the strategic partnership between Kuka and Volkswagen is the area of service concepts for vehicles of the future, and the two companies have agreed a contract to jointly develop robot-based innovation concepts for vehicles of the future.  Continue reading Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Consortium of car companies to build massive power network for electric vehicles

A consortium of companies which includes some of the leading automakers has agreed to build what they say will be an “ultra-fast, high-power” charging network along major highways in Europe. 

The joint venture includes BMW, Daimler, Ford, and Volkswagen, which owns the Audi and Porsche brands.

The group says it will build a direct current network of approximately 400 charging points for battery electric vehicles.

In a joint statement, the consortium says this is an “important step” towards facilitating mass-market battery electric vehicle adoption.

The network itself will be based on the Combined Charging System standard technology, and will expand the existing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Europe.

Individual charging points will enable motorists to use DC current to fast-charge their vehicles with 350 kW of power, say the companies.

At the moment, the country with the highest number of charging points is the United States, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

This is according to OpenChargeMap.org, which says there are approximately 80,000 charging stations across more than 40,000 locations around the world.

Porsche CEO rejects autonomous cars, but his tech director’s comments suggest interest

porsche mission e
The Porsche Mission E, the company’s first all-electric model, scheduled for launch at the end of the decade
Luxury sports car maker Porsche could be going past a big road sign that says “This way to driverless car technology” without even slowing down because the man in the driving seat is steadfastly keeping his machine on a path which has a long tradition, stretching back to the very earliest days of motoring.

Oliver Blume is not alone among high-end car company bosses in feeling something of a mixture of indifference and incredulity at the current wave of interest in and development of driverless car technology.

The Porsche CEO is adamant the company has no plans to build an autonomous car, saying: “One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself. An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road.” Continue reading Porsche CEO rejects autonomous cars, but his tech director’s comments suggest interest