Wireless charging is the future of electric vehicles, according to Mark Harris of IEEE Spectrum, and Google's self-driving car could soon he leading the charge.
This makes sense because the self-driving car is the future of personal transportation.
Leaked documents from the FCC indicate that Google is experimenting with wireless charging systems designed by East Coast startups HEVO Power and Momentum Dynamics. Rather than transferring power via cord and plug, wireless charging relies upon magnetic induction via embedded plates on the ground interacting with receivers on a vehicle's underside. Power is beamed from one point to the other.
This is not at all dissimilar to how wireless phone charging works. One day we're all going to look back on the '00s and '10s and wonder how we ever lived without wireless charging, just as we look back now and wonder how anyone ever lived without the Internet.
As for the self-driving car itself, Google has spent years testing several prototypes. In that time, the company has received criticism that its cars are "too polite," which is to say they don't function as if driven by boorish, distracted humans. Results have shown that a world full of autonomous vehicles would be much safer than the status quo, potentially saving tens-of-thousands of lives per year.
The ability to power and re-power these vehicles without bulky and expensive plug-based infrastructure could be a key component to their eventual ubiquity.
Photo credit: NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images
Robert Montenegro is a writer and dramaturg who regularly contributes to Big Think and Crooked Scoreboard. He lives in Washington DC and is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.