Pat Larson, a Tesla owner, created his own automated electric charger.
A Raspberry Pi computer acts as the brain of the operation.
The charger positions its long arm, which attaches to the car’s charging connection, using a camera and a smart bright light bulb.
Pat Larson, make his content on youtube and he debuted his “Tesla Automatic Charger” in a new video earlier this month. With an arm-like contraption that employs a camera, a Raspberry Pi computer, and a few learning algorithms, the mechanical charger can automatically attach to the car’s charging connection.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has suggested this type of charging technology in the past but has yet to materialize. So, let’s look into Larson’s charging system to see what’s going on below the hood.
the Youtuber invented his own auto-charger and he stated in a YouTube video that the Raspberry Pi is “the brains of almost everything.” To begin, the system goes back and forth across linear bearings, nearly matching with the car’s charging port area. The charging arm mechanism pivots away from the wall and toward the parked Tesla thanks to a linear actuator (essentially a joint).
Lastly, a small camera takes images and sends them to the computer system to assist in aligning the charging arm mechanism by reading and analyzing the images. The Raspberry Pi comes with TensorFlow, a machine learning framework that aids the system in determining where to go based on visual data. If it’s dark within the garage, there’s also a light to highlight the correct location.
Larson starts the device by pressing a button, then watches as the “pretty sophisticated TensorFlow model” slowly comes into motion. He explains, “It’s not a quick procedure.” While the arm explores away from the wall, the brilliant light focuses on the location where the arm must proceed. then finally the program uses the Tesla API to open the charging port.
The actuator then swings the charger tip out the big part of the arm. Then, the rotating charger head is perfectly aligned with the charging port. The hole is detected by the charger head by recognizing the brilliant Tesla “T” that always appears when the charging port is open. The charger aligns itself properly in the slot and activates the charging port.
Larson says that all of the software is operated through the internet, which means that if there is an internet failure, the system may fall down—a “weak spot in the system,” he acknowledges. However, in such a case, he may just plug the charger in manually.
Tesla’s automatic charges have long been a topic of discussion. Musk has even mentioned the possibility of Tesla-branded automatic chargers in the past. But that was in 2015, and there has been no more news since then. Last year, though, Musk said that Tesla’s “metal gear snake” automated charging is still in the works.
Tesla Motors released a video that shows a model of its automated charging in operation. A flexible, snake-like metal appendage slinks and slithers in the footage before inserting its nozzle into a Model S‘s charging connector.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, teased the automated charger in December when he tweeted that the firm was working on a “solid metal snake” charger “for real.”
You admit it’s a little disturbing. Musk, who has frequently warned about the risks of uncontrolled robotics and artificial intelligence, didn’t miss the creep factor.
Btw, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall & connects like a solid metal snake. For realz.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 31, 2014
For the time being, you will have to connect your charger directly.