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Robotics Hardware

Dutch Unveil Robot Gas Station Attendant 287

Lucas123 writes "According to a Reuters' story, Dutch inventors today took the wraps off a $110,000 car-fueling robot they say is the first of its kind. (It was inspired by a cow milking robot.) After registering the car as it pulls up to the pump, the machine matches your fuel cap design with those in a database and your car's fuel type, and then a robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular gas pump, 'opens the car's flap, unscrews the cap, picks up the fuel nozzle and directs it towards the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.' Wait till Hollywood gets hold of this scenario."
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Dutch Unveil Robot Gas Station Attendant

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  • well... (Score:1, Funny)

    by slap20 ( 168152 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @05:54PM (#22313136)
    I for one welcome our Dutch gas pumping robotic overlords!!
  • Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Sta7ic ( 819090 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @05:59PM (#22313232)
    [whirrrr-click] Target identified. Model recognized as Homer J. Simpson. Preparing doughnut tube.
    [whirrrr-click] Target identified. Model recognized as College Student. Preparing beer tube.
    [whirrrr-click] Target identified. Model recognized as Slashdot Visitor. Preparing "In Mother Russia" meme-milk and "Cowboy Neal" flakes.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @05:59PM (#22313238) Homepage Journal
    and I can't understand how other people handle not locking their fuel flap. You lock your car, which is covered by insurance, but you leave the fuel for the taking? Thankfully, I've yet to see a film where someone turns a car into a Molotov cocktail by inserting a rag into the fuel cap and lighting it up.. thankfully, because kids have a thing for emulating what they see in films.

    My fuel flag does have the means to be opened from inside the car.. so I guess I could just do that when approaching Sir-Pumps-A-lot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:00PM (#22313258)
    Do you know how to tell when a porn star is filling his gas tank?

    Just before the fuel comes out, he yanks the nozzle out and sprays it all over the windshield.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:02PM (#22313284)
    to check your tire pressure. Just saying.
  • by sam_paris ( 919837 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:05PM (#22313330)
    Hey guys,

    i'm actually writing this from my iphone, while in my car, while one of these new robots fills up my volvo. I don't know why you guys are tagging this "whatcouldpossiblygowrong", it seems well engineered and apparently efficient. The only problem I can foresee would be some sort of short circuit which could produce a spark and ##KR2F@F@$F$ {NO CARRIER}
  • Re:well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by garlicbready ( 846542 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:06PM (#22313348)
    considering it costs $110,000, and if the gas station is fully automated will it be able to beat the crap out of someone who refuses to pay?
    (think Johny Cab / Total Recall)

    "warning insufficient funds
    engage orifice insertion override"
  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:07PM (#22313368)
    "I can still hear it screaming in that fire we had. After that I decided to just go back to the old-fashioned pumps."
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:13PM (#22313462) Homepage Journal
    That's a retarded view of security, for which you should be ashamed.
  • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:15PM (#22313496)

    Also, it seems that you can register .com domains that start with the f-word and end with "ingmachines".
    What could possibly be wrong with "www.firetruckingmachines.com"?
  • by Sciros ( 986030 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:27PM (#22313724) Journal
    The gas station attendants will likely get work as "gas station robot maintenance dudes" that fix robots which, you know, go bad. And you know they will. Let's consider some likely scenarios:

    1) Robot claws open rear passenger door thinking it's a gas cap cover and shoves nozzle down whoever's strapped in.

    2) Robot decides you have a 2007 model instead of 2008 and destroys your gas cap because they way it opens has been changed

    3) Robot beats you up and drives off in your car

    4) Robot doesn't know the "3 clicks" rule and keeps screwing your gas cap back on for all eternity

    5) Robot is racist and doesn't service some people

    6) Robot sees a Lamborghini pull up and tries to mate with it, costing the gas station around $400,000

    These are all nightmare scenarios that are all too possible if the robots aren't maintained. We'll need people to do this. No way I'd trust other robots!
  • Re:well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Facetious ( 710885 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @07:12PM (#22314426) Journal
    Heh. I guess it goes like this.

    Step 1. Scan VIN through windshield. If successful, pump fuel.
    Step 2. Open driver's door and scan VIN that is imprinted on door frame. If successful, pump fuel.
    Step 3. If steps 1 and 2 fail, seize vehicle; phone police; play, "This is the fuel pumping robot at [address] I have seized an illegal immigrant and/or terrorist. Please pick him/her up at your convenience."
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @07:29PM (#22314626) Homepage
    So... basically Skynet is going to be able to take over just by refusing to refuel our SUVs?
  • by Skevin ( 16048 ) * on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @07:29PM (#22314628) Journal
    Drivernator: ...a revolutionary type of gas station attendent...In three years, Gas Net will become the largest supplier of robotic fueling devices. All gas stations are upgraded with Gas Net internals, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they refuel cars with a perfect operational record. The Gas Net funding bill is passed. The system goes on-line on August 4th, 2007. Human decisions are removed from buying gas. The automated pump replacement begins to learn, at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 am, eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

    Sarah: Gas Net fights back.

    Drivernator: Yes. They begin exporting backyard-brewed bio-diesel from Russia.

    John: Why Russia? They're supposed to be our chief exporters.

    Drivernator: Because Gas Net knows that Russian bio-diesel will damage the bottom line of domestic energy companies while degrading the performance of modern vehicles.

    Sarah: Jesus.

  • by illumnatLA ( 820383 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @07:44PM (#22314804) Homepage
    Bobby Ray Earle of Wichita unveiled a new automated vehicle fueling system today.

    "It's a very sophisticated system," said Earle. "Our customers will be very happy not to have to pump their own gas."

    When a car pulls up, the system immediately registers the make and model of the car and locates the fuel cap using two visual sensors. The system then extends its sensory touch system to open the flap, unscrew the cap, and direct the fuel nozzle towards the tank opening.

    The cost for the fueling system is minimal. It is expected to price for no more than $5 per hour.

    "If only it didn't need a bathroom break every few hours," said Earle. "Other than that, my system works flawlessly."

  • by Samgilljoy ( 1147203 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @09:54PM (#22316168)

    Once again, I get the strangest sense that Paul Verhoeven somehow foresaw this. Verhoeven worked his way through college in the Netherlands working as a gas-station attendant and would later go on to direct the movie "Robocop." Coincidence? Perhaps not... First of all, there are other bizarre coincidences, such as the appearance of a DVD in the movie "Robocop" (ten years before DVD would actually debut), the "President Schwarzenegger" reference in "Total Recall" (long before his political career), the 9-11 satire in "Starship Troopers" (four years before 9-11), etc. Did he use his Ph.D. in mathematics to construct a time machine (perhaps to come back and have sex with a young Elizabeth Berkley)? Is he the prophet of our age? And what more does this portend? Are invisible men next?

    Oh, man, this is the most enlightening theory I have encountered, since I learned that the band Laibach is actually Queen (Freddy Mercury never actually died, you see, just reinvented himself and his band as post-Industrial, quasi-Socialist, broken German speaking performers.).

    You are seriously onto something.

  • Re:well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Timberwolf0122 ( 872207 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:12AM (#22320178) Journal
    Thats why I keep old food wrappers/post-it notes on my dash board, stop the spooks tracking me by barcode scanners hidden in the squeegies homeless people use to clean windsheilds.
  • Re:well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by geoffspear ( 692508 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @02:52PM (#22323772) Homepage
    In America, that's what we call a huge breach of privacy. That would allow anyone who can see my car to find out what kind of car it is!

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"