Dutch inventors unveiled on Monday a $111,100 car-fueling robot they say is the first of its kind, working by registering the car on arrival at the filling station and matching it to a database of fuel cap designs and fuel types.
A robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular gas pump, carefully opens the car's flap, unscrews the gas tank cap, picks up the fuel nozzle, and directs it toward the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.
see it in action, watch this on Intion Development's Dutch-
only Web site.
"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 gas station operator Nico van Staveren. "Drivers needn't get dirty hands or smell of petrol again."
He hopes to introduce the "TankPitstop" robot (see video) in a handful of Dutch stations by the end of the year. It works for any car whose tank can be opened without a key and whose contours and dimensions have been recorded to avoid scratching.
Asked whether he would trust his car to a robotic garage attendant, Jelger De Kroon, filling his black Alfa Romeo at a nearby gas station, said, "Why not? I guess I could keep my hands free and clean, but I'd hope they have good insurance."