Shell's Experimental Automated Gas Station

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by joeshell383, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. joeshell383 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #1
    Shell's Experimental Automated Gas Station
    At Shell's experimental automated gas station, a robot fills your tank.
    BY MICHAEL LAMM
    Photos by James A. Sugar
    Published in the February 1998 issue.

    If you find yourself at a loss for some polite conversation with the gas station attendant, soon you may not have to worry. Then again, if you've counted on him for directions when you're lost, you may be out of luck. That's because full automation is about to enter the filling station arena. Soon, there will be no one to say, "Fill 'er up," to anymore. In fact, you won't even have to get out of your car.

    Here's how it works:

    You pull into the station and an electronic sensor reads the transponder that you've placed on the dashboard, visor or wherever it can be read. As you pull in, the information from the transponder identifies your car's make and model. That's important, because it tells Shell's robot fueling system, called a Smart Pump, exactly where your fuel-filler door is located.

    By now you've parked. A pay module moves to the driver's window. You swipe your payment card through the slot, choose the grade of gasoline you want, then hit the interior release for your car's fuel-filler door if your car is so equipped. Meanwhile, an overhead 3D camera validates the make and model of your car. It also reads exactly how you've parked–whether your vehicle is alongside the pump island or a little askew from it. The 3D camera feeds your car's position to a "vision" computer and adds this information to that of the transponder.

    Based on these inputs, the Smart Pump's robot arm moves to the proper side of your car and slowly lowers itself. It stops at just the right height a few inches from your fuel-filler door. A suction cup above the fill nozzle gently opens your filler door, then retracts. Finally, the fuel nozzle inserts itself through the special cap. The nozzle extends a few inches down into your tank and automatically fills it.

    Shell's special gas cap fits over the mouth of your fill pipe and twists in place in seconds. This special cap replaces your vehicle's original gas cap. The cap has a spring-loaded flap that provides an airtight seal. The fuel nozzle pushes the flap open and creates a tight seal. The cap also contains a series of vent slots so the fumes can be routed up through a secondary conduit and into a vapor canister. After it fills your tank, the nozzle retracts and the robot arm automatically swings up and out of harm's way.

    Full Article:
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/1266746.html
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #2
    The pumps in Japan are automated enough for most people to be happy, I think. Lets just make all petrol stations like that and see if people like it.

    I don't like machines doing everything for me. The less we move around to perform day-to-day tasks, the less we'll do, period. Then we'll complain about our poor health and whine about how long our workdays are, while the real reason we're so unhealthy is because we can't even be bothered to get up and do something simple like fill our own petrol.
     
  3. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #3
    Gas stations having to install these pumps definitely won't raise gas prices......


    I'll pump my own gas, thank you. I don't trust a machine around my car, and I'm not that freaking lazy anyways
     
  4. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #4
    Why don't we work on making gas prices cheaper rather than help make this country lazier?
     
  5. notnek macrumors 6502

    notnek

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    #5
    Agreed. No wonder the U.S. has the highest percentage of obesity.
     
  6. joeshell383 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #6
    One of my favorite aspects of the concept is that the system can work regardless of fuel door location so one wouldn't have to worry about the pumps/sides available.
     
  7. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #7
    Just replace the driver's seat with a commode, and you wouldn't need to get out at all... ;)
     
  8. iDAG macrumors 65816

    iDAG

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Athens, Ohio
    #8
    It seems like a great idea as long as it doesn't scratch my car. ;)
     
  9. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Location:
    Torontoland
    #9
    I liked it better the first time I saw it 18 years ago in Back to the Future 2...
     

    Attached Files:

  10. GSMiller macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #10
    I can't imagine the suction cup working very well if your car is really dirty. I imagine this being years off, as we've had automatic carwashes for how long? And manual ones still outnumber them probably 10 to 1. I imagine all Shell's having at least one automatic pump within the next decade but not many of their stations being fully automatic.
     
  11. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #11

    Note that this discussion is based on an article that is over a decade old, which really doesn't merit an inclusion in the Current Events forum.
     
  12. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #12

    What are they like in japan? When I was in Tokyo the only difference I saw was that they seemed to be full service stations with the hoses/nozzles hanging down from above.
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #13
    They should just make the hose bigger.

    Actually, I can use either side of the pump with my car already.
     
  14. iDAG macrumors 65816

    iDAG

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Athens, Ohio
    #14
    I just feel stupid now. If this happened a decade ago, then what is the current status of the whole project?
     
  15. guifa macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Auburn, AL
    #15
    I didn't even know you could get someone else to pump your gas? I've never in my life been to a gas station that has anything other than self service... Well, disabled folk could push a button to request assistance but that's all I ever remember.
     
  16. GSMiller macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #16
    Ah, and you are correct. And I still haven't seen any automated pumps. I guess my theory was correct ;)
     
  17. MrSmith macrumors 68040

    MrSmith

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2003
    #17
    I remember when there used to be service at British pumps. Now it's a surly git behind bullet proof glass. In Japan there are still many service pumps (and they check your windscreen washer fluid, take your rubbish and wipe your windows). Unfortunately, though, the self-service pumps are appearing. For the sake of a few yen people are prepared to forgo the service. Few Japanese drivers will have been to England and seen what a country can become without the notion of good service. Personally, I'm prepared to pay more to preserve it. Whatever the technology involved, anything that takes away a human smile is a step backwards, not forwards, in my opinion.

    And off the soapbox...
     
  18. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #18
    This sounds cool but I'd never go to a Shell station anyway. They always charge more for gas than the other stations around them.
     
  19. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
  20. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #20
    Some gas stations have full service. And in New Jersey, it's illegal to pump your own gas, the gas station attendant has to do it (I still don't understand the reasoning behind this law, but it sure was nice when I was driving through NJ and had to stop and get gas :D)
     
  21. Antares macrumors 68000

    Antares

    #21
    In Oregon, you are not allowed to pump your own gas. An attendant has to do it for you. That threw me off when I first moved there.
     
  22. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #22
    Because they spend all their R+D dough on Stoopid.
     
  23. Macmaniac macrumors 68040

    Macmaniac

    #23
    I live in NJ, I dont pump my own gas, my gas is cheaper then in PA where it costs more for self serve, and I want this why?

    NJ gives people a job pumping gas, why get rid of that.
     
  24. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000

    FoxyKaye

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    #24
    I always wondered about that when I lived in NYC - gas in NJ was both cheaper and full-service. Good on them!

    Although I'd really miss pumping my own gas and topping off the tank $.05 at at time or putting in just enough to make the purchase price a nice, rounded number like $29.50 or something. Yeah, it's weird, I know.
     
  25. joeshell383 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #25
    I think most people strive for a "nice" number.
     

Share This Page