Inductive power transfer (IPT) is now recognised as one of the “hottest” research areas in Electrical Engineering combining the EE foundation studies of electricity and magnetism with power electronicsand microprocessor control. But this acceptance is very recent – as recently as 20 years ago IPT was widely supposed to be completely impractical and papers on it were in very short supply. This paper describes how one research group at the University of Auckland went from power electronics and motor control to international recognition in IPT over these past 20 years.
It is a simple story combining technology and people and especially people with the vision to see what can be done and how systems can be built on those principles to offer solutions to engineering problems that hitherto had no possibility of a solution. The paper covers the story in a people oriented foreword that describes the original development from serendipity to a Daifuku prototype, and then as a more conventional paper from that prototype to a wide variety of IPT systems up to the possibility of roadway at power levels of 10-30 kW or more, with high efficiency and wide tolerance to misalignment.