A Massachusetts company is taking a futuristic approach to hands-free plug-in vehicle charging: robot appendages. A product called PowerHydrant uses a robotic arm to connect a charging station to the vehicle, allowing for an easy kind of customer charging experience that is also offered by wireless charging systems. PowerHydrant, which is in its testing phase, will be shown off at the EV Tech Expo in Michigan this week.

The device features robotics that allow for as many as four plug-in vehicles to be recharged at a time. PowerHydrant, which was patented and trademarked in 2010, uses image-sensing technology to connect the station to the vehicle without human interaction, so there are some cameras involved in addition to those robotic arms. The devices also allow for charging levels ranging from Level 1 to fast-charging, and the company boasts 99 percent efficiency in the product's charging.

The company appears to be in fund-raising mode, so details such as mass production and pricing haven't been revealed. PowerHydrant estimates that it'll take about $5 million to get the device to production mode. The curious can check out a few videos about our fancy new robot overlords arms below. The non-animated one has a soundtrack straight out of the '80s, but was released in 2012. Just don't get any dogs to close to those hydrants. That could be dangerous.




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