US-TECHNOLOGY-CAR
  • US-TECHNOLOGY-CAR
  • A self-driving car traverses a parking lot at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California on January 8, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NOAH BERGER / AFP / Noah Berger (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: NOAH BERGER via Getty Images
Transportation Sec'y Foxx Discusses Future Transportation Trends With Google CEO
  • Transportation Sec'y Foxx Discusses Future Transportation Trends With Google CEO
  • MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - FEBRUARY 02: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (R) and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) walk around a Google self-driving car at the Google headquarters on February 2, 2015 in Mountain View, California. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Google Chairman Eric Schmidt for a fireside chat where he unveiled Beyond Traffic, a new analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation that anticipates the trends and choices facing our transportation system over the next three decades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
Self Driving Cars
  • Self Driving Cars
  • FILE - This May 13, 2015 file photo shows Google's new self-driving car during a demonstration at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. Regulators puzzling through how to give Californians safe access to self-driving cars of the future will hear from Google and other companies that want the state to open the road to the technology. The California Department of Motor Vehicles will hold a hearing Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, at California State University, Sacramento. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Self Driving Cars
  • Self Driving Cars
  • FILE - This May 13, 2015, file photo shows the front of Google's new self-driving prototype car during a demonstration at Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. The self-driving cars needed some old-fashioned human intervention to avoid some crashes during testing on California roads, the company revealed Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, results it says are encouraging but show the technology has yet to reach the goal of not needing someone behind the wheel. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Google Cars
  • Google Cars
  • Google's new self-driving prototype car drives around a parking lot during a demonstration at Google campus on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Google Car
  • Google Car
  • In this May 13, 2015 photo, a reporter walks toward Google's new self-driving prototype car during a demonstration at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. The car, which needs no gas pedal or steering wheel, will make its debut on public roads this summer. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Google Car
  • Google Car
  • In this May 13, 2015 photo, Jessie Lorenz, of San Francisco, touches the new Google self-driving prototype car during a demonstration at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. The car, which needs no gas pedal or steering wheel, will make its debut on public roads this summer. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Image Credit: Google
  • Image Credit: AOL
Autonomous self-driving driverless (drive) vehicle driving on the road
  • Autonomous self-driving driverless (drive) vehicle driving on the road
  • Autonomous self-driving driverless (drive) vehicle driving on the road
  • Image Credit: shutterstock

Self-driving cars are poised to be an incredible tool of the future, but they won't be much use if they can't hold a charge. It looks like Google wants to solve this problem via resonant magnetic induction, a form of wireless charging that could use manhole-style transmitters embedded in pavement to juice up driverless vehicles, IEEE Spectrum reports.

The outlet spotted documents that Google filed with the Federal Communications Commission outlining its work with Hevo Power and Momentum Dynamics. These companies were cleared to install experimental chargers at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, and in its nearby Castle facility used to test self-driving cars.

The idea is that self-driving vehicles would hover over a charging pad for a few minutes to power up, or pass over a series of transmitters as the car is in motion, scoring a nearly constant charge.

Wireless charging solves a few problems for the makers of self-driving people-movers. An efficient system would allow Google and other manufacturers to use smaller, lighter batteries than the ones in current electric vehicles, slashing the cars' overall price. Plus, accessible wireless charging removes a barrier to traveling for children, the elderly and people with certain disabilities, IEEE notes.

This article by Jessica Conditt originally ran on Engadget, the definitive guide to this connected life.



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