It’s been a busy autumn for Rocsys, the electric vehicle (EV) charging automation expert. In early October, the Delft-based start-up announced the successful closing of its seed investment round, led by the Superangel fund. Now, less than a month later, the company is announcing another boost in capital, this time by the Uniiq Investment Fund, as it opens its Rocsys public test facility at the Green Village field lab in Delft. The latter contribution of 200,000 euros will be used for the next stage of development, which involves testing and optimizing the automatic charging technology in the field lab’s real-life setting.
Rocsys is developing a ‘soft’ robotic arm and computer vision technology to enable the fully automated charging of electric vehicles. The charging plug is guided to the EV’s socket, after which the vehicle is scanned, as it were, before actually plugging in. The soft nature of the robotic arm also allows for shock absorption, such as when the driver gets in or out of the car. When a person puts their hand against the plug, the Rocsys system senses this and stops moving – unlike standard robotic arms.
As the operation doesn’t require human input, plugging and unplugging will become faster and safer. For instance, high voltages can be used safely during the automated charging of commercial vehicles. Of course, this will be convenient for drivers of electric cars, but it will also benefit operators of fast-charging stations and owners of commercial fleets, comprising trucks, buses and industrial vehicles, as they will be able to make optimal use of their assets.
Rocsys was founded by a team of experienced entrepreneurs with highly complementary skills and strengths: Crijn Bouman (co-founder of Epyon, a fast-charging station company based in Delft that was acquired by ABB), Joost van der Weijde (PhD candidate in soft robotics and co-founder of Springscan) and Kanter van Deurzen (co-founder of Fizyr, a Delft-based computer vision technology company) (links in Dutch). The team, therefore, has a solid technological foundation as well as access to a very broad network in the industry.
The first investment was led by Superangel, an early-stage investment fund out of Estonia. Though the final number of the contribution wasn’t disclosed, the funding was designed to help the start-up commercialize its automated EV charging solution. The second investor, Uniiq, focuses on helping West Holland entrepreneurs in the proof-of-concept phase speed up the process of bringing their innovations to the market.