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Fuelmatics and Husky develop petrol-pumping robot

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October 30, 2013

The Fuelmatics Automatic Refueling System in action (Image: Husky)

The Fuelmatics Automatic Refueling System in action (Image: Husky)

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There was a time when pulling into a service station would coincide with an attendant in a pressed uniform and a peaked cap running up to your car to ask if you’d like to fill ‘er up. That scene may be relegated to Mad Men, but a robotic replacement has arrived. At this month’s 2013 PEI Convention at the NACS Show in Atlanta, the Husky Corporation’s booth played host to a robotic fuel attendant called the Fuelmatics Automatic Refueling System (ARS) that the company is developing in collaboration with Stockholm-based Fuelmatics Systems AB.

The Fuelmatics ARS isn't much to look at. At first glance, it seems to be a fuel pump on a track that somebody forgot to install hoses on. That’s because it’s designed so the customer doesn't have to do anything. The robotic ARS handles all of the fueling operation and the customer doesn't even have to open the window.

The customer drives up to the ARS and either uses a payment card or a smartphone app to purchase fuel. The Fuelmatics robot then looks for the refueling flap and opens it using a suction arm. It then inserts a hose into the refueling line and either fills the tank or dispenses the amount requested. With the app, opening the window isn't necessary and the receipt is sent by email or text. According to Fuelmatics, the whole operation takes 30 percent less time than conventional pumping.

The Fuelmatics ARS is 30 percent faster than conventional pumping

Husky’s contribution to the system was through using venturi components to create a spout that could extend through a cap-less insert, which is becoming increasingly common on cars and is necessary for the system to work. Fuelmatics offers such inserts to purchasers of the system to sell to their customers and says it takes only a few seconds to install in place of the old fuel cap.

According to Fuelmatics, the ARS is vapor and spill free and is designed to work on all passenger cars and 4 x 4s that can receive fuel on either the left or right of the vehicle. The system is also equipped with a set of three nozzles, so it can pump petrol, diesel, or an alternative fuel. Its robotic design makes it compatible with unmanned mini-stations, traditional fueling stations, and hypermarkets.

Fuelmatics sees the ARS as increasing fuel sales by at least one car per hour and since the driver has nothing to do during fueling, the company points out that it’s another opportunity to sell advertising on the system’s screen. Fuelmatics sees it as not only attractive to people who don’t want to get out in the wet, but also elderly and disabled drivers.

The Husky insert for the Fuelmatics ARS (Image: Husky)
The Husky insert for the Fuelmatics ARS (Image: Husky)

"No one likes to refuel. It's a necessity. But our product eliminates some of the hassle. It’s faster, cleaner, more convenient, and more environmentally friendly with no vapor or spill at all," says Sten Corfitsen, Fuelmatics founder. "The Fuelmatics system makes self-service refueling obsolete."

Unfortunately, the ARS still does not clean windscreens, check the oil, or tell you the best way to get back to the main road.

The video below demonstrates the Fuelmatics ARS.

Sources: Husky, Fuelmatics

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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8 Comments

too little, too late.

The latest & greatest new car tech is electric, and its only a matter of time before plugging them in is odd, and they will all be charged by induction from below the car.

Derek Howe
30th October, 2013 @ 06:41 pm PDT

I think gas has another 10-15 years. Electric certainly will take up a bigger portion of the pie but won't replace gas for some time.

Matthew Adams
30th October, 2013 @ 06:52 pm PDT

Seems like an ideal solution for hydrogen and LPG powered cars. Even if all cars sold in 15 years are electric, the majority of cars will still be petrol for another 15 years.

Germany and UK are showing a preference for hydrogen power, and dont want electrical power outlets on every road and carpark with huge amounts of electricity flowing around them and want to put hydrogen in petrol stations instead.

I mean everyone turning on their toaster at the same time can crash the electrical system of a country, imagine the demands of everyone plugging in their car when they get home.

The only thing holding hydrogen back right now is how expensive the fuel cells are. I think they will drop in price before the charging issue is sorted with electic cars.

fenshwey
30th October, 2013 @ 08:36 pm PDT

I want to see this thing in action against the stupidly placed fueling tube on a Jag XJ6 or one of the behind the plate tubes on older American cars. What happens then?

Mayhem
31st October, 2013 @ 05:30 am PDT

Why? I guess for handicapped this would be helpful.

On long trips stopping at the gas station allows me to stretch my legs.

Vadim
31st October, 2013 @ 11:11 am PDT

Instead of having those lame touch screens to advertise going into the store. Replace them with a pneumatic tube system/ or dumbwaiter system to deliver the human fuel directly to your window while you wait for robo pumper to perform it's job ;)

m_s_w
31st October, 2013 @ 12:26 pm PDT

EVs will take over the minute a breakthrough in batteries is made. That could be tomorrow or a century. Nobody knows.

I like the fuel cell if we can make our own hydrogen using solar.

I'm buy anything that gives me energy independence reasonably priced.

Don Duncan
31st October, 2013 @ 04:41 pm PDT

So first you have to ensure the special capless adapter fits behind the filler door. Is this thing DOT approved?

Second how does it deal with most remote release doors if the machine applies any pressure to enable the suction, or magnet? would it not prevent the door from opening? Or close if the timing is off?

Third I also like to get out and take care of nature's calling, unless they plan for a special hose?

Bob Flint
31st October, 2013 @ 07:07 pm PDT
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