Google Looking To Bring Wireless Charging To Self-Driving Cars

Feb 07, 2016 01:51 PM EST | John Nassivera

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Google is apparently looking to take its self-driving car project even further with the option of wirelessly charging.

The search giant wants to get rid of the pod cars' charger cables and has been testing two wireless charging systems for its electric autonomous prototype in California, according to U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filings obtained by IEEE Spectrum.

The documents state that New York-based startup Hevo Power and Philadelphia-based Momentum Dynamics gained FCC approval in February and July of 2015, respectively, to install experimental chargers at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Both of their systems work through a process called resonant magnetic induction, in which an alternating current is sent from manhole-like transmitters embedded in the ground to a receiver on the bottom the electric car.

The process would have self-driving cars power up over the charging pads for a few minutes, or charge constantly while they pass over a series of transmitters while they are in motion, Engadget reported.

Experts believe that wireless charging will eventually evolve from being used at homes and workplaces, where cars will remain parked for certain amount of time, to public roads as well, SlashGear noted.

Google and other companies working on autonomous technology would see several benefits from adding a wireless charging option, such as saving time on always keeping cars plugged in, saving money on large electric car batteries by using smaller, lighter batteries, and making it easier to travel for children, the elderly and people with certain disabilities.

Bringing wireless charging to its self-driving cars would only add to the recent success that Google has had with the project, having recently announced that it will begin testing the cars in Washington. This makes Washington the third state where Google has started testing the technology, the other two being California and Texas.

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