Robots Pump Gas But Don’t Do Windows
Throughout the U.S. (excepting New Jersey and Oregon) and many other parts of the world, if motorists want their car tanks filled with gas, they need to get out of the car and do it themselves. That may not be necessary in the future if a new gas-pumping robot created in the Netherlands catches on with gas station owners.
Last week, Nico van Staveren, the developer of the robot and a gas station owner himself, introduced the Tankpitstop robot to the public for the first time.
The robot works by sensing when a car pulls up to a pump and then opens the car’s
gas cap and inserts the fuel nozzle in the same fashion as a human. (See
a video of the TankPitstop in operation…) The robot determines how to fill
the car properly from a database of automobiles and gas cap designs matched
to manufacturer recommended fuel types.
Mr. van Staveren told Reuters how he came up with the idea for the Tankpitstop. “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,” he said. “Drivers needn’t get dirty hands or smell of petrol again.”
The Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Maria van der Hoeven, was the first person to try out the new system. She called the Tankpitstop “a spectacular new innovation.”
Mr. van Staveren is hoping to have the Tankpitstop operating at several Dutch gas stations by the end of the year. The complete system costs $111,100 (75,000 euros).
Photos courtesy of Tankpitstop
Discussion Questions: Do you think we will see gas stations being manned by robots in the future? Robotics are currently being used in pharmacies in the U.S. Do you see other applications for robots in various retail channels in the years to come?
- Dutch unveil robot to fill car gas tank – Reuters
- TankPitstop in Operation (Video) – TankPitstop
- TankPitstop, a world first in Emmeloord! – TankPitstop