Can Robots Revive a Mid-Century Icon?

Are you old enough to remember the days when pulling into the gas station meant you were met by a friendly guy in a peaked cap who pumped your gas, cleaned your windshield, checked your oil, even put air in your tires if you asked, and wished you a nice day? Those of us who do remember are rapidly becoming an endangered species.

But Sten Corfitsen, the founder and chief executive officer of Fuelmatics Systems AB, based in Stockholm, Sweden, and his business partners at a company based in Missouri that manufactures fuel nozzles and related accessories,  would like to bring them back—at least the part about pumping gas.

They’ve invented a fully automated, robotic refueling unit for cars—an ATM for automobiles, if you will. It’s no accident that Corfitsen got his start working for ATM builders in Europe. These operate on the same principal: Drive up to the pump, roll down your window, swipe a card at the screen and the robo-attendant takes it from there.The robo-gas attendant is being tested at the Husky Corporation factory near St. Louis, and Fuelmatics hopes to have the system ready for use by next year.  For the complete details, go here.