It’s no secret that the robot revolution is coming, when our machines achieve self-aware intelligence and rise up against us as our new overlords. But really, we’re letting it happen because it’s just so much easier to let a robot pump your gas. Especially in the winter when the car is so toasty warm and the pump is so icy cold. Brrr.
The local buzz in St. Louis is good news for anyone who dreads facing the arctic blast outside the car when it comes time to pump gas, reports Fox2Now.com in St. Louis. One company is testing a robotic pump and showed it off to the news station.
“We already have drive-thru McDonald’s, drive-thru banks and drive-thru car washes,” said a company executive. The pumps aren’t going to show up at your local gas station anytime soon, however, as the product still has to go through regulatory testing and won’t be ready for probably another nine months.
Here’s where the old, cranky person inside me asks, How does this damnable robot get the job done? It’s surely not as talented as I am at pumping gas. Or if you’re in a state where only gas station employees pump gas, gas station employees.
Infra-red lights and cameras locate the fuel door and then an arm with a suction cup pulls it open. Out comes a nozzle into the fuel tank and the desired amount of fuel comes gushing through. Tick, the tank is full, and the nuzzle returns to the pump (note: while many newer cars no longer have fuel caps, there’s an adapter available for those that do need to be unscrewed first).
As for payment, there’s a touch screen outside the car for making fuel selections and paying, but the company predicts a phone app will also be developed to allow customers to pay with a swipe of their phones.
“I think it`s going to have an appeal in Northern regions, especially where weather is really bad,” the company exec explains.
Of course this is just one prototype and one potential product. I’ll start to get really scared when a robot comes by to sell me the Slim Jims it knows I want from the gas station.
Robotic gas pumps will likely come to St. Louis [Fox2Now.com]