Google is looking into wireless charging for its driverless cars

Google self-driving car
It’s not enough that Google’s cars don’t need drivers — now, they don’t want plugs either. The autonomous technology is now also looking into wireless charging, because you can’t have too much of a good thing, it would seem. In Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filings first spotted by IEEE, it would appear that Google is “testing wireless charging systems for its electric self-driving cars.” Rather than relying on charger cables, Google appears to be working on “beaming power” to make for a truly 21st-century vehicle.

According to the FCC documents, it would look as though Google is investigating Hevo Power and Momentum Dynamics, both wireless charging companies that use plates embedded in roads and driveways to send power to the receivers found in the underbellies of cars. In principle, it’s the same concept employed in wireless phone charging systems — just a lot bigger.

If successful, this wireless charging technology could obviously have enormous implications on the transportation industry. Indeed, such innovation could allow for cars to be constantly charging no matter where they are, all but eliminating the need not only for fossil fuels, but plugs, cable cords, and the like as well.

Having this wireless charging system could really up the ante on the already ambitious autonomous car program, one that Google says may soon become integral to the lives of people around the country. Back in December, Chris Urmson wrote in a Medium post, “We’ve heard countless stories from people who need a fully self-driving car today. We’ve heard from people with health conditions ranging from vision problems to multiple sclerosis to autism to epilepsy who are frustrated with their dependence on others for even simple errands.”

Google is by no means the only company looking into the possibility of wirelessly charging cars. As the Christian Science Monitor points out, Stanford University, bus manufacturers in South Korea, and Highways England have all looked into the practice with wireless charging embedded in roads themselves. And in South Korea, this technology is already in use in the city Gumi. 

So look forward to the future, friends. Where every aspect of driving is easier than you could’ve ever imagined possible.

Emerging Tech

This exotic new material somehow gets thicker when stretched

Scientists at the U.K.’s University of Leeds have discovered a synthetic material which actually gets thicker the more it’s stretched. Here are some of the things it could be used for.
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high-tech and low-budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Emerging Tech

Early-detection system for wildfires could save many states from big burns

When it comes to dealing with the growing problem of raging wildfires, a new wireless smart sensor system could help spot burgeoning blazes before they rage out of control. Here's how it works.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Black Diamond and Petzl to Coast here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Features

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!