If you’ve ever been too lazy or the weather has been too severe to refuel your car, this might be the invention for you. A Danish startup has developed a robotic arm capable of refueling a number of vehicles at gas stations without any kind of human involvement.
Autofuel allows patrons at a Neste fuel station in Finland to get their car filled up by a robot. They’re currently the only place in the world that offers this service but Autofuel is hoping their technology catches on to other countries across the globe.
This pilot site was chosen by Autofuel to test its futuristic refueling system, which uses a robotic arm that locates a car’s fuel tank door, selects the right type of fuel and operates the pump without any kind of human assistance. The company has been testing their technology for over a year and plans to start public testing it later in 2023.
When Autofuel created its robotic car refueling station back in 2018, the idea of the project was to reduce the potential exposure to harmful chemicals and fuel components at stations for both employees and customers. Since then, they’ve discovered other benefits to having a robot arm do all the heavy lifting, including comfort and convenience.
“Our technology intends to provide the customers with maximum comfort and safety at gas stations,” Jonas Thor Olsen, CEO of Autofuel, said. “Manual refueling demands the driver’s attention or direct involvement for at least as long as the car is refueled. The Autofuel system requires no human involvement. It allows them to go to the shop for a coffee or take a short break while the car is refueled.”
Autofuel’s modular robotic arm is housed within the fuel pump and a series of sensors and cameras were designed to keep things running smoothly by identifying the vehicle’s registration number so the system is able to detect what kind of fuel it requires.
Another camera directs the car to stop in a certain area so that the arm can easily reach the fuel tank door. The arm itself then starts to move, opening the door, selecting the right fuel nozzle and then refueling the car.
Even with the speed the robotic arm operates, Autofuel has clarified that the robot moves at a safe speed. The company also included features that can cause the arm to stop completely in case of an emergency.
Move over full serve service, it looks like there’s a new sheriff in town.