Dutch unveil robot to fill car gas tank
EMMELOORD, Netherlands (Reuters) - Motorists nostalgic for the time they could sit tight while attendants braved windswept garage forecourts to fill their tanks may yet see those heady days return -- compliments of a Dutch robot.
Dutch inventors unveiled on Monday a 75,000 euro ($111,100) car-fuelling robot they say is the first of its kind, working by registering the car on arrival at the filling station and matching it to a database of fuel cap designs and fuel types.
A robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular gas pump, carefully opens the car's flap, unscrews the cap, picks up the fuel nozzle and directs it towards the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.
LAS VEGAS--Back in the '90s, iRobot worked on a robot that could help drill for oil.
Then oil dropped from $30 to $20 a barrel, and interest among potential customers dropped too, said iRobot CEO Colin Angle during a meeting at this week's Consumer Electronics Show here. With oil bouncing around $100 a barrel now, that chucked idea may make a comeback, he said.
Drilling for oil is sort of misnomer, Angle noted. The ground doesn't consist of hidden lakes of liquid petrochemicals. Instead, oil is encased in porous rock, Angle said. To get at it, oil drillers dig deep holes into the ground and then encase them in metal. Subsequently, a charge is fired to break through the metal to get at the rock. After oil is extracted, drillers move on to make new holes and seal up the old ones.
But such holes can upset geological formations. A robot could, in theory, repair the holes without upsetting the geological balance, Angle said. Conceivably, the robots could also allow drillers to extract more oil out of deposits. Now, drillers only harvest part of it.
He further outlined why robots are going to become part of our lives: the inevitability of old age and war.