Monthly Archives: December 2020

Volkswagen’s mobile charging robot

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Everything seems to indicate that the future of cars is electric. However, automotive industry is facing a real challenge when it comes to the charging infrastructure. In comparison to gasoline cars, which can be refuelled in minutes, almost everywhere, recharging an electric car is definitely more complex. Due to that automotive brands constantly come up with new ideas and projects concerning chargers, which simplify charging process. 

Volkswagen Group has recently developed a mobile electric vehicle charger that can autonomously reach parking area, recharge electric vehicle and then came back to its dock station without the intervention of humans. 

The charging robot prototype can be started via an app launched by the vehicle owner as well as through communication with the car itself. Once the connecting process begins, the mobile charger turns on — its “face” lights up, and two digital eyes open on the display. Afterwards it takes the battery trailer, heads for the vehicle and plugs it into the charging socket. The mobile charger opens the charging socket flap as well as connects or disconnects the plug fully autonomously. The mobile charger is also able to move and then connect the vehicle to an energy storage unit. When car is done charging the robot collects the battery and brings it back to the charging racks. The charging system is designed especially with a view to VW models, although it should work with other electric vehicles. 

The mobile charging robot doesn’t have a release date yet. The company communicated that it has reached prototype status and it will be “comprehensively further developed.” Volkswagen is already building out large fast-charging networks in the US and Europe as well as creating various charging products including a DC wallbox that charges up to 22 kilowatts. “Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector,” Volkswagen Group Components CEO Thomas Schmall said in a statement. “We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures. The mobile charging robot and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions.”

The prototype, which VW Group created, shows that automakers focuses on expanding charging infrastructure over the next few years to meet the expected demand that will arise as car manufacturers produce and sell more electric vehicles which are gaining in popularity lately.

Too Good to Go – The movement against food waste

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In every part of the world food is wasted – for different reasons and under different circumstances. The most food is wasted by the United States, where the food waste amounted to 126 million tons per year, which is about 415 kg per person. Unfortunately they are not the only ones – in Europe a lot of food is being thrown away as well.

According to the CEFO, the people in Poland threw away about 9 million tons of food in 2017, which yields in 247 kg per head. A statistic from 2018 stated that 42 % of Polish citizens admitted that the threw away food, especially bread, fruits and meat products. Most of the time because the food exceeded the best-before date.

End consumers are not the only ones to blame for the very high food waste. It often starts with production, for example through poor harvesting or processing methods or even more banal reasons such as visual defects. Before the food is sold to the final consumer, there are also many causes of food waste due to handling and storage of food, such as rough handling during loading and unloading or incorrect handling of food. All the above-mentioned problems are reasons for food wastage by private end consumers, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.

Reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to fight climate change. – Chad Frischmann, Climate Change Expert.

Too Good to Go is the world’s largest B2C marketplace for surplus food. The company was founded in Denmark in 2015 and serves to sell surplus food from supermarkets and restaurants to customers. It now operates in over 900 cities in Europe, including Warsaw and Berlin and has over 9.5 million users.

The goal of Too Good to Go is to bring surplus food in surprise boxes to the private consumers at a lower price, resulting in a win-win situation for both sides. The shops don’t have to discard the leftovers, can present themselves as sustainable and the customers save money and can enjoy cakes, food and co.

Too Good to Go works as an application which can be easily downloaded on the smartphone. While you specify which city you are in, the app gives you an incredible number of places to save food. The app is divided into categories, such as baked goods, lunch or dinner, and shows the pick-up time and price, so that there are no surprises when you get there. The price depends on the shop, mostly the customers pay between 3.50€ and 4.50€, which is about a third of the original price. Most of the time you can pick up the so-called Magic Bags (sometimes you can also participate in the selection yourself) after closing time. 

The payment is processed via the app before the pick-up and Too Good to Go takes about 20 per cent commission per transaction. Since its founding, the company earned 16 million euros and could save over 10 million food packs from being wasted. 

If you want to contribute to making the world a little bit better, download the app and save food that is too good to be thrown away. The app is easy to use and you get something for your next dinner for a small price. As mentioned before, a lot of shops in Warsaw take part and you can pick up a Magic bag at a Green Cafe Nero or Starbucks next to you. A little advice: the offers are highly requested and often sell out quickly, so make sure you place your order in time!


The mobile charging robot

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The German automaker says it’s moving forward with making the idea a reality

Volkswagen says it’s made a prototype of the electric vehicle charging robot concept it first showed off in proof-of-concept form in late 2019, and that it plans to keep developing the idea. The giant German automaker apparently liked the concept so much that the prototype charging robot looks almost identical to the concept version, complete with blinking digital eyes and R2-D2 noises.

“A ubiquitous charging infrastructure is and remains a key factor in the success of electric mobility. Our charging robot is just one of several approaches, but is undoubtedly one of the most visionary,” explains Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Components’ CEO.

The robot works simply enough in theory. The charging robot – started via an app or Car-to-X communication – operates totally autonomously. It independently steers the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it: from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug and decoupling it. The entire charging process takes place without any human involvement whatsoever. To charge several vehicles at the same time, the mobile robot moves a trailer, essentially a mobile energy storage unit, to the vehicle, connects it up and then uses this energy storage unit to charge the battery of the electric vehicle. The energy storage unit stays with the vehicle during the charging process. In the meantime, the robot charges other electric vehicles. Once the charging service has ended, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.

It’s a fun idea, though there are a number of possible points of failure that Volkswagen didn’t address in the press release. For one, the charging robot depends on cars being connected to an overall network of some kind (known in the industry as V2X or “vehicle to everything”) in order to communicate with the robot. But that’s an idea that has yet to take hold, and one that is fraught with unglamorous but nevertheless foundational problems, like arguing about which standard to use.

Also, calling this version of the charging robot a “prototype” implies that Volkswagen has got a working version, but the company didn’t actually show it in action as part of the announcement. Instead, Volkswagen merely released a “first glimpse,” involving just a glossy commercial for the robot and a few photos.

The business unit is currently working on a complete DC charging family. The flexible quick-charging station will be launched onto the market in early 2021. 


New regulations for the use of drones

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The popularity of drones is growing every year. Thanks to better availability (greater variability of choice and lower price), almost anyone can buy a drone, so it is not just the privilege of a group of enthusiasts and geeks. With the increasing number of amateur drone pilots, the number of accidents also increases. It was necessary to create a set of new rules. So, in many countries, new regulations will be in place starting from the new year to reduce accidents caused by the misuse of drones. Until now, each country of the European Union has regulated the operation of drones itself, but this is going to change on 31.12.2020. From this date, the rules will be uniformed for all Member States of EU.

The rules apply to all drones, except drones lighter than 250 grams without camera. Drone owners will need to register and pass the test. Then the owner will receive a specific number which will be indicated on all his drones.

New legislation divides drones into 3 categories, Open, Specific and Certified. In the first category, drones can fly a maximum of 150 meters above the land, however, no additional equipment is required. Drones from the other two categories must be equipped with remote identification, failsafe system against signal loss and geo-awareness (restricted flight zones).

New drones are already equipped with these essentials. But what to do with older ones? For example, we can use a smart solution from Dronetag. It is an IoT device in the form of a small box, which is attached to a drone. These devices send the current position and identification number of the drone to the central system and communicate with other drones via Bluetooth. There should be no collision between the drones. Dronetag also provides an application that facilitates compliance with all EU regulations. The application also displays the current state of the airspace with all participants (airplanes and drones).

The new regulations will also apply from the new year in the US, where the rules will be even more strict. If someone wants to fly with drones at night, they will need to undergo special training and equip the drones with reflective lights. Drones will also need to be provided with a position identifier.

So, if you got a drone for Christmas, don’t forget to register and pass the necessary exams before your first flight.



Reading Time: < 1 minute

Shopping can be tiring. Walking around shops, we constantly waste time looking for products. There is, however, a solution to this problem. Drive through supermarkets. They are a modern replacement for traditional supermarkets.

Firstly, a customer drives to one of the stores locations and then  starts to select products from column that has a vertical rotating shelves and is operated by a button. The customer then places selected products on the conveyor belt where they travel to the checkout. Checkout time is way shorter as you do not need to wait in a long queue.

The store would be set up just like a gas station. Above the shopping area is a floor where the supply warehouse is located. Items are constantly replaced by workers who put them into shelves that represent their counterpart shelf in the store below and report on their empty/full status. The products are taken by conveyor belt again to their corresponding shelf for restock.

This is a very good solution, especially during a pandemic. Thanks to this, we can make purchases without contact. This means greater safety and increased hygiene. Nobody has touched our products before us because they come straight to us from shops warehouse.

This idea could improve the customer service, there will be bigger variety of products, and also this type of store could be the most convenient. The whole shopping process takes less than 5 minutes.

The patent for this concept was filed by Russian inventor Semenov Dahir Kurmanbievich.

If you are interested in the topic of drive throuh supermarkets below there is a link to an animation showing how such a store would function.


EU encourages people to use Internet of Things as a tool for smaller energy consumption

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Internet of thing has already become a part of ordinary household in many countries. We use online assistant devices – such as Alexa, Google or Siri, we have washing machines which we can control through mobile device or we can start to cook dinner in the oven when we are on our way home. In these cases, the usage of Internet of Things is up to every individual, but in the next few years, every household should have device running online, which will help them to be more energy efficient.

European Union is trying to set some rules in order to be more energy efficient and be more eco-friendly to our planet. For that, they are counting also on Internet of things which should be used in gathering information about consumption of households in every country belonging to EU.

Directive 2018/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council is editing the directive on energy efficiency 2012/27/EU, which concentrates on more ecological actions of countries in EU. The most current topic is reducing final consumption of heat and hot water of each facility. The goal of this directive is to ensure that the owner or tenant of a property will monthly (in Czech Republic it is now only once a year or every 4 months) receive detailed billing of their consumption of electricity and hot water. As a result, the owner or tenant can adapt their consumption according to their monthly billing.

This billing should be consisted of:

  • Price and actual consumption of energies
  • Comparison with previous month consumption
  • Comparison with standardized consumer
  • Composition of energy sources

For this reason, everywhere in Czech Republic, starting from the 1.1. 2027 there must be installed only electro meters which will be possible to read (count down) remotely. People can choose from 2 variations – “walk-by” systems for which a person must come nearby to the meter, or systems on the base of Internet of Things which automatically download the data and send it every month to the administrator. “Walk-by” systems have cheaper starting investment, but in long term, they are more expensive because of not automatic count down. That will mean that nearly every property in Czech (and hopefully EU) will have, by the year 2027, installed IoT device.


ŠVARCOVÁ, Hana. Nové předpisy ke snížení energetické náročnosti bytového družstva: Prezentace. Ministerstvo průmyslu a obchodu. 2020. Dostupné také z:

Praktický rádce pro SVJ: Vznikne povinnost dálkově odečítat bytová měřidla a častější vyúčtování nákladů na teplo a teplou vodu podle směrnice EU? [online]. [cit. 2020-12-31]. Dostupné z:

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Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” will be available as subscription

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Elon Musk and Tesla don’t stop amazing us with technologies that are either brand new or make life easier. Two of them are Autopilot and Full Self-Driving capability, that make your car semi-autonomous.

The main difference between those two functions are that Autopilot “enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane.” Meanwhile, FSD includes the ability to have your car find you anywhere in a parking lot (Summon), park on its own (Autopark), and adds the company’s most robust self-driving features (Navigate on Autopilot).” There are also plenty of other functions like detecting traffic lights, and many more that are yet to come.

Although it is still in beta mode, FSD is currently availiable for 10 000 USD, but according to Elon Musk it will be available as a subscription in early 2021. That is great news for people who are either not keen on that technology, as you will be able to test it without spending huge amount of money or people with leased cars.

Not only that, but Musk also announced recently that all Teslas bought until 31st December will get 3 months of FSD subscription for free.

Adding 3 months of FSD for free is a great way to boost end-year sales, and also it will allow people to test it before buying it. Implementing subscription model together with one-time payment will lead to more people using and testing the system, which will lead to it being more realiable in the future. Who knows, maybe in a few years ceratin cars will become fully autonomous and will not require constant supervision as now?


Global decarbonization

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Utility decarbonization strategies | Deloitte Insights

What is decarbonization.

Decarbonization is a process of

reduction or elimination of carbon dioxide from energy resources.

Why do we need it.

For the climate to stabilize the world need total decarbonization. Currently, we are on the track of making the global average temperature rise for 2-celsius degrees and above. Considering the melting of the glaciers, the water level of the seas has risen 6 meters since the world was industrialized and the average temperature is 2-celsius degrees higher. If carbon emissions won’t be stopped, average warming will increase to 3-celsius degrees, which will result in flooding many cities, including Miami, Shanghai, Osaka, Rio De Janeiro (the equivalent of 275 million people losing their home).

Ways of decarbonization.

Companies are trying to decarbonize the economy, which results in changes in their business models and many new technologies emerging. Renewable sources of energy are prioritized over fossil fuels. New energy carriers have been created, energy efficiency has been improved, emissions are being reduced.

Companies are taking steps to decarbonize the economy, including increasing electrification, usage of renewable energy, or intensifying energy efficiency measures, which are still a big challenge for the coming years. However, most of the companies declare being fully carbon-neutral by 2050.

Sector overview.

Surface Technology in the chemical Industry | Aalberts ST

The chemical industry is built on hydrocarbons, however, decarbonizing it would have a profound effect on the world. New technologies make it possible to use CO2 as a feedstock for chemicals and plastics. Moreover, Waste-to-hydrogen plants are being built.

Coatings/paints designed for use in oil & gas facilities l Jotun

The oil and gas market is currently in crisis, considering low demand caused by the global pandemic and excess supply from the recent oil price war. Decarbonizing may be prioritized by some companies in the short term, though difficult market conditions may encourage companies to experiment with it more and create new business models.

Covid-19 and the resilience of renewables – Renewables 2020 – Analysis - IEA

The power, utilities and renewables sector is moving the fastest towards decarbonization as it is a key attribute of customer engagement. They are largely working to expand their renewable energy portfolios. They increase the efficiency of their thermal power plants and improve energy efficiency in buildings.

Electrical Maintenance Safety Devices for Mining, Minerals and Metals |  IRISS

The mining and metals sector relies mainly upon electrification and renewables. Most of the companies design their decarbonization strategies based on proven solutions and applying them globally to their facilities.


New FAA regulations about drone delivery

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With finalization of new rules for small and unmanned drones, made by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), delivery of goods by drones may become reality in very near future. New regulations will enable drone tracking, overflight and night operations under certain conditions.

A five-rotor drone lifts a package into the air.

Delivering packages by drones has never been as close in becoming reality as it is now. It means serious business for companies like Amazon – it may allow deivering more packages faster, cheaper and more efficiently. New regulations made by FAA will make some things more clean and allow deivery companies to get ready for the incoming new method of package delivering.

All drones will be required to have Remote ID, an equivalent of a digital license plate, which includes serial number or flight number of a drone, it’s location data and status. The drones must broadcast their locations at all times, but now they don’t have to be connected to internet in order to do that – new regulations allowed to directly broadcast identification and location information with radio frequency technology. Those rules were specially made in order to ensure public safety. Airspace awareness will reduce chances of drone interference with aircraft, buildings or people.

Autonomic Vehicles

Other regulations will allow to operate such drones at night without a special waiver. Drones will be required to have anti-collision lights that can be seen for three miles. New rules are welcomed by drone developers and operators:

“The rules released today are critical steps towards future UAS rulemakings to enable more complex operations, including beyond visual line of sight for drone delivery, public safety operations and infrastructure inspection. Remote ID is also instrumental to the development of a UAS traffic management system that works alongside the existing air traffic control system for manned aircraft,” the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International said in a statement.

The only thing left to be desired is the ability to for beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations, which currently require a waiver. For example a railway company BNSF Railway had to “petition the FAA for a waiver to remotely operate up to five unmanned aircraft over long distances for rail inspection and patrolling its private property.” Those regulations need to be implemented in near future in order to make long-range deliveries possible. Overall, newly made regulations will make some peoples’ dreams about drone delivery possible in short time, as those regulations will take effect 60 days after their scheduled publication in January.


Urban air mobility pioneer

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Vertical Aerospace was established in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick with a goal to create a decarbonising air travel using the best technology from the aviation, energy and automotive industries. Vertical Aerospace believes passionately in the power of electric flight to change the way the world travels because we shouldn’t sacrifice our planet to get from point A to point B. In 2017 a team of six engineers designed and build tha first demonstrator model, working closely with regulators and iterating the technology along the way. In 2018 their first eVTOL aircraft was granted flight permission by the Civil Aviation Authority.

One of Verticals flagship aircrafts, VA-1X, is a piloted all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), which is capable of carrying four passengers for 100 miles at a cruise speed of 150 mph. Testing is scheduled for 2021 followed by certification in 2024. With the potential to be quite and economical these aircrafts have been touted as the next big thing in passenger aircrafts. Vertical Aerospace states that their aircraft will be heavily automated, but still both regulations and the public will require a pilot for years to come. VA-1X will automatically respond to an obsticte on the landing pad and will pull away from any collision. Using multiple propellers that point upwards VA-1X takes off and rotates those propellers horizontally in order to gain speed, it aims to carry four passengers and a pilot over short distances more cheaply than a helicopter.

Airlines operate within a framework of strict regulations, so it is yet unknown how a entirely new category will enter the market and the airspace. Vertical’s CEO says that they are already working pretty closely with Uk and European regulators.