This Raspberry Pi Robot Can Automatically Charge a Tesla

Pat Larson's automatic Tesla charger.
Pat Larson

Most drivers need to pull into a gas station every other week, but electric vehicle owners simply need to plug in their car when they get home—a task that takes all but two seconds. Still, that’s a bit too tedious for Pat Larson, who built an automatic Tesla charger using a Raspberry Pi 4 microcomputer.

Tesla was supposed to release an automatic car charger years ago, and even teased a terrifying prototype back in 2015 (it’s like something out of Terminator). But we haven’t heard much about the product since then, maybe because it would be too expensive for most people to justify.

But Pat Larson’s solution doesn’t look all that expensive (aside from the labor that went into it). A Raspberry Pi 4 is the brains of his automatic Tesla charger, which is mounted to the wall of his garage. A Pi Camera Module allows the system to guide its hydraulic carriage (and by extension, the charger) into his Tesla’s charging port automatically. It ain’t quick, but it gets the job done.

While Pat’s video doesn’t go into super-duper crazy detail, he does mention that the charger’s carriage uses an ultrasonic distance sensor to make sure that it doesn’t scuff up his car. To make coding the machine less tedious, Pat used the TensorFlow Lite deep learning framework to develop a machine learning algorithm for the system.

Hopefully Pat takes the time to explain his build process in a future video. In the meantime, EV owners are stuck charging their car by hand. Too bad!

Source: Pat Larson via The Raspberry Pi Foundation

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