Friday, February 15, 2008


Soon, the attendant who fuels your car at the petrol pump might not have a hand made of flesh and bones- thanks to a new robot.

Dutch inventors’ unveiled Monday a 75000 euro car fuelling robot which 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 petrol pump, carefully opens the car’s flap, unscrews the cap, picks up opening- much as a human arm would, and as efficiently. “I was on a farm and I saw a robotic arm milking a cow. If a robot can do that then why it can’t fill a car tank, I thought, “Said developer and petrol station operator Nico van Stavern.

“People neen’t gets dirty hands or smell of petrol again, “he added. He hopes to introduce the “Tankpitstops” robot 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, Lelger De Kroon, filling his black Alfa Romeo at a nearby petrol station, said “why not? But I’d hope they have good insurance. “

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