CONSUMERIST:?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. Husky Corp. from Pacific, MO is testing a robotic pump.
?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.
The system is a joint effort between Canadian fuel company Husky Energy and Swedish specialist Fuelmatics, which says that not only does it prevent fuel spillage and reduce fuel vapour release, but it also cuts refuelling time by 30 percent on average compared to when the driver does it.