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Jun 12 2014

World Takeover Continues: Robotic Gas Pump

gasFor those of us who don’t live in Oregon and have to pump our own gas, isn’t it a pain? You have to find a gas station that you trust, where the prices won’t make you cry, and see that the truck isn’t there stirring up the silt in the tank. Then you have to actually get up to the pump, get out in the weather, find your club card, convince the pump to accept your credit card. Finally you remember to pop the fuel door, have to find your keys to  unlock the gas cap, and you can start pumping. From there, things are easy. Just make sure the nozzle doesn’t pop out and pump fuel on the ground and your basically home free.

Seems like kind of a hassle right? Can’t a robot do this for me?

The drive-thru gas pumps were developed by Husky Corporation in cooperation with the Swedish company Fuelmatics Systems. The pump uses its infrared lights and camera to locate the fuel door, then opens it with its suction-cup equipped arm. A nozzle from the pump extends automatically to fill the tank with the desired amount of fuel, then retracts back to the pump when done. Customers would order and pay for their fuel at a drive-up screen, which the developers compared to the screens at carwashes, and a phone app may also be on the horizon to allow customers to order and pay from their cell phones.

Seems like a pretty good idea for me. I’d be interested to see what happens on a car that actually has a gas cap. Or how the robot deals with different car models and those people who can never manage to park a decent distance from the pump. Only the right rear window in my car rolls down right now so I’m avoiding all drive through units until such time as I can get that fixed.

Hit the jump for the video.

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