An autonomous robot named CARL will charge your electric car

Battery low? Better call CARL.

CARL: Cool Autonomous Rad Lad? (We don't actually know what it stands for.)

If China's Aiways has its way, CARL will seamlessly charge future electric vehicles. The startup, preparing to start sales of its first vehicle in Europe later this year, said on Friday it received several patents for CARL and plans to make the autonomous robot charger a reality.

Aiways believes something like this robot could be a game changer for EV charging, which today is rather cumbersome in public. Stations go down, payment isn't totally seamless and the stations themselves aren't exactly mobile. Instead, CARL could wander around a parking lot or area and quickly deploy when an EV owner summons it. The robot would motor its way to the EV via GPS data, ensure it recognizes the charging standard and start juicing the battery without much input from the owner, save for a few taps on their smartphone.

After CARL finishes -- Aiways imagines 80% charge could come in 50 minutes -- the robot will either move onto the next EV or return to its home station somewhere in the area. It all boils down to flexibility: The charger finds an EV owner, not the other way around.

With multiple patents granted, engineers will likely be hard at work on CARL for real-world applications. Aiways has some competition, however: Volkswagen also has a concept for an autonomous robot to charge EVs in public.

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