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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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  • by BytePusher ( 209961 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @05:57PM (#22313220) Homepage
    In Indiana, Shell tried a similar robot in my home town. It cost about $100 for a special gas cap and had a huge bay you would drive into. I guess it wasn't too popular, but definitely existed before this.
  • Re:Oregon (Score:3, Informative)

    by veganboyjosh ( 896761 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:11PM (#22313434)
    I lived in Portland for about 9 months a few years ago. Had a job delivering food, actually.

    The gas wasn't noticeably more expensive, and it sure was nice not having to get out of the car to fill up.

    I believe New Jersey also has/had a similar policy of not allowing motorists to pump their own gas. It's my understanding that by requiring gas stations to provide at least one gas pump attendant, it keeps at least one person per station employed above and beyond what they would in any other state. Considering how many gas stations there are, that's a lot of unemployment averted. I never could tell where the extra cost for paying pump attendant wages came from...
  • Re:Pfft. The Dutch. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Klaus_1250 ( 987230 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @06:24PM (#22313670)
    Doubt it. Some people don't like or don't know how (!) to fuel their car. In fact, I know several people who always visit the same gas station simply because it still has a gas attendant (a rarity here in the Netherlands, though 20 years ago it was quite common). Seeing that more and more gas stations here are becoming unmanned entirely (saves you up to 10 eurocent per liter), why not a Gas filling robot? You can stay in your car where it is warm, where you can listening to your favorite radio station, eat a sandwich or drink a refreshment, make a quick call, program the GPS, look through some papers, read your mail, etc, etc. It sound silly at first, but those 5 minutes can be pretty useful at times. Not to mention that it is better for your health as well.
  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @07:08PM (#22314382)
    1) You're comparing a gas-pumping robot to a bad-guy-killing cybernetic police officer? What do you do for an encore, compare the Apollo Module to the USS Enterprise?

    2) You're amazed by the fact that he saw a lazerdisc shrunk it down for his robocop movie? Sorry, I'm not impressed.

    3) You got the movie "Total Recall" confused with "Demolition Man", which was directed by someone else.

    4) 9/11 reference in Star Ship troopers? Are you sure you weren't just on LSD at the time?
  • Re:Oregon (Score:2, Informative)

    by cduffy ( 652 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @08:41PM (#22315508)
    I don't know about people who couldn't possibly figure out any way to fill up their tank at all, but I've met folks who can drive just fine (with a modified, hand-controls-only vehicle) whose disabilities would have made filling up the tank a significant hassle.

    Think "wheelchair lift". If your lift exits on the same side your gas tank is on, that's a whole set of problems -- and even if it doesn't (and the space on the other side isn't being used by other vehicles as a pull-through lane), you've got to have enough room between your vehicle and the pump for your chair, not to mention the regular hassle involved in getting in and out. Right now, there's the "Call Attendant" button... but having the pump's robotics do everything for you would be much better.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"