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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
Anyway, Toyota, you’re welcome.