Robotic fuelling for passenger cars
The concept of a robotic fuelling station came from the gas station industry. The idea of using industrial robots in an application open to the public was something new and never tried before, the safety issues for the users are much more important. Rotec developed the first concept and prototype of an automatic gas station for passenger vehicles in close collaboration with the gas station industry and was subsidised by the Dutch province Flevoland. The project known as Tankpitstop was launched for the first time on February 4, 2008.
The cars registered to the robotic gas station are equipped with an RFID chip that contains information about the customer. This information is used to load the car data and to get payment approval. The RFID chip is inside a sticker which cannot be removed from the car without damaging the chip, preventing fraud.
When the car approaches the automatic fuelling station, an instruction displays, comparable to the one you’ll find at a car wash, will indicate where you should stop your car and what the driver should do. Once the car is at the right position, the sliding door that safely covers the robot, is lifted. A camera system on the tool is used to determine the position of the fuel cap.
The refuelling system is equipped with a sensor to detect when people come too close to the system. When this happens, the robot will stop moving, until it is safe to move again.
The tool, which is connected to the industrial robot consists of 3 main parts. The first part is equipped with a soft suction cup, which can open the fuel flap on the car. The second part is able to remove the cap which is screwed on the fuel opening. The third part can then grab the fuel nozzle and insert it in the car. After refuelling, the cap can be reinstalled on the fuel opening, and the cap can be closed. The robot will move to its home position, the sliding door will close, and the customer can leave the station. The payment is handled automatically.
Since 2016 all commercial activities concerning automatic car refuelling are represented by Autofuel.
For more information visit www.autofuel.me