The Ultimate Full-Service Gas Station: Robots

Next time you pull up to your local gas station, you may be greeted with a pleasant surprise at the pump. No, not a 50% discount on fuel, but a new form of full service straight from the Netherlands. And this one won't complain if you forget to tip.

Earlier this week, Dutch inventors revealed their $111,100 car fueling robot that according to them is the first of its kind. As you pull up to the pump, the robot will register you vehicle and match it with a database to verify the proper fuel cap design and grade of gasoline. Assumedly, you will have to input a few commands such as to how much fuel and what grade, other than that, the entire process is automated.

A robotic arm extends toward the car and, using a small army of sensors so it doesn't scratch your paint, it flips open your fuel door, unscrews the cap and inserts the nozzle into the tank opening. The system which was named "Tankpitstop" will work with any vehicle that doesn't require a key to open the fuel door and whose dimensions were pre-programmed.

"I was on a farm and I saw a robotic arm milking a cow. If a robot can do that then why can't it fill a car tank, I thought," said developer and petrol station operator Nico van Staveren. "Drivers needn't get dirty hands or smell of petrol again." Nico hopes to install the system on several Dutch stations before the end of the year and eventually expand further.

When asked whether he would trust his car to a robotic garage attendant, Jelger De Kroon, who was filling his black Alfa Romeo at a nearby station, said: "Why not? I guess I could keep my hands free and clean, but I'd hope they have good insurance."

Courtesy Of : Reuters

George Delozier
Automotive Innovations

Feb 5, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

Soon we won't even have to

Soon we won't even have to breathe...

Feb 6, 2008
by eric (not verified)

Dont show this in New Jersey

New Jersey is the only state in the US that forces use of gas station attendants to pump gas. This device would instantly put them out of work. Unions I guess. I could see this device also being very popular with rental car agencies who need to refuel cars. Possibly fuel pumps could become mini-convenience stations at remote locations as well or places like the airport remote parking lot.

Nice article and good find!