Toyota Patents An Autonomous EV Charging Vehicle Idea I Had Three Years Ago

undefined
Graphic: Jason Torchinsky

While I’d like to believe that major carmakers have implanted cameras and microphones in my dogs and cats and are reading the contents of my thoughts via complex analyses of my stools, which they harvest, I think the truth is that the reason so many of my ideas have been taken by carmakers is that they’re just, you know, solid ideas. I’d like to think that’s why Toyota’s recent patent for an AV vehicle that recharges/refuels your car is so much like the idea I had in 2017, and not that Toyota is extracting my thought patterns from my leavings.

Advertisement

I saw the Toyota patent a bunch of places online, and it looks like our pals at The Drive found it first. But long before any of these articles or this patent, three years ago, I saw essentially the same idea in my head, though I humbly think mine is cooler.

Advertisement

What we have here is a small autonomous vehicle that has an onboard fuel storage area (this could be fuel tanks for combustion cars or batteries to recharge EVs. I just envisioned an EV charging robot, since it’s not like gas stations are hard to find) some electronics for AV-thinking, connectivity hardware and a mechanism for actually fueling or recharging a vehicle.

undefined
Graphic: Jason Torchinsky/Toyota

The patent drawings show a pretty simple-looking box on wheels, pretty much the same as mine, except I added some off-the-shelf lighting units and what I think is a real game-changer here, a mechanism to allow for charging cars that are parallel parked on city streets.

The Toyota one is designed to approach a vehicle from the rear to recharge/refuel it, which would require open space behind the vehicle to do so:

undefined
Screenshot: Toyota
Advertisement

Also, the car in that pic looks like a late ’90s Honda Civic. While it looks like refueling/recharging while driving could be possible with such a setup, I really doubt laws would allow for liquid fuel refilling in motion and the patent doesn’t seem to reference on-the-go recharging/refueling — I think this happens while parked.

So, good luck making sure you have open space behind you, or at least enough space to not block traffic, Toyota! I had a solution for this issue:

Illustration for article titled Toyota Patents An Autonomous EV Charging Vehicle Idea I Had Three Years Ago
Graphic: Jason Torchinsky
Advertisement

Read the article if you’re skeptical; I think this could work, even if Toyota is too chickenshit to steal all of my ideas.

Now, of course, legally I can’t really say that Toyota stole my idea that’s been on the public internet for over three years, and even if it did, it’s not like I patented it, so I’d be feces out of luck no matter what.

Advertisement

But I think it’s important to make everyone aware that I know what’s going on here.

Of course, a lot of AV development would need to happen to make these Level 4 or 5 autonomous cars work, since we’re a ways away from there, but I think this type of thing will one day be possible. I just hope Toyota figures out a way to do it without blocking traffic.

Advertisement

Anyway, Toyota, you’re welcome.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

equana2
Equana2, Turn my sad eyes grey

Sorry Torch, Toyota filed this idea with the Patent Office Oct 14, 2016 predating you by a year. I’d say you are channeling Toyota rather than the other way ‘round.