While the auto industry is betting their money on new energy vehicles, one company in Netherlands had developed a robot to fuel up gas-powered cars. Rotec Engineering is the company behind a robotic fueling for passenger cars called Tank Pitstop System.
The aim is simple: to replace human pump attendants at gas stations. When it comes to robot, we will usually fuel you with (unnecessary) horror stories on how robots are taking away our jobs, but lets be honest, gas-powered vehicles are slowly being left behind, but a future of electric vehicles is going to make pump attendants out of jobs anyways.
While fossil fuel vehicles will remain on the roads into the near future, the future further ahead is no doubt electric. Never mind how the electricity is generated.
Anyhoo… back to Tank Pitstop. With the Rotec Tank Pitstop System, all you need to do is to drive up to the kiosk and a robot, or more correctly, a robotic arm, will automatically recognize a vehicle is there to be topped.
Recognition is via tamper-proof RFID chip installed on the registered cars. The chip will contain the car data and for facilitating payment approval. There is display with instructions on where you should stop your car.
Once in position and parked, the robotic arm will open the fuel tank cover (provided that you trigger the release first) and unscrew the gas tank lid before picking up the pump gun with the same arm to proceed to transfer the fuel to your vehicle.
When the tank is topped, it automatically retrieve the pump gun and place it back into the gas pump. Everything is done automatically. There is safety system built into it to detect if the car is moving or if there is a person nearby. In the event anomalies are detected, such as the presence of a child, for example, refueling will halt immediately.
Robotic Fueling for Passenger Cars sound like an interesting pitch. But it may have been overtaken by event. The event here is, of course, the rise of electric vehicles, battery-powered or otherwise.
It is worthy to note that, since 2016, all commercial actives with regard to automatic car refueling are now under Autofuel, a Danish company. It also worthy to note that Autofuel has not updated their Facebook page for a while now. So, we are not even sure if it is going anywhere at this point.
As I am writing this, I can’t help to see the similarity in principle to Tesla’s ‘Solid Metal Snake’ charger. But of course, Tesla’s solution would have a future. We are not sure about the Tank Pitstop, however.