This year’s 2015 Connected Car Award goes to the “V-Charge” research project, presented yearly by Auto Bild and Computer Bild since 2013. The award was given at CES 2016.
Several companies took part in the “V-Charge” project and these included the Volkswagen Group Research, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, the Technical University of Braunschweig, Robert Bosch GmbH, the University of Parma, and Oxford University.
On behalf of all the partners, the award was presented to Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, Volkswagen Brand Head of Electrical and Electronic Development, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Form, Volkswagen Group Research Head of Electronic and Vehicle Research.
V-Charge represents Valet Charge, and is indicative of how automated parking will work out with future vehicles under an intelligent concept; this also includes electric vehicle charging. The idea for this was taken from the practice in the US where a car owner hands over the keys of his car to a valet who goes ahead to properly park it, and then brings it around again when the owner needs it.
With the V-Charge concept, there is automated searching for a parking space and charging of an electric vehicle. The fascinating thing about the V-Charging concept is that the technology automatically searches for empty parking spaces with the necessary charging infrastructure and then starts charging its battery.
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As soon as the battery fully charges, the electric car leaves the bay for another vehicle to fill the place while it then automatically searches for a good parking space to park. With the “mixed mode traffic” of the electric car, the inbuilt ultrasound sensors and cameras identify other vehicles, cyclists, as well as pedestrians and not cause any mishaps.