In the good old days (this would be some time before I owned my first car), gas stations offered "full service", which meant that you could stay warm and cozy in your car while the hapless attendant braved the wind, snow, sleet, rain, heat, cold ... whatever to fill your car.
Later, in order to "better serve us", gas stations migrated to the "self-service" model, which saved their owners money and left us battling the elements.
Well, in the not-so-distant future, it may be that the "good old days" come back again. My friend Wilfried in the Netherlands just sent me a link to an article about a Gas Station Robot. When you pull up to the pump, this little rascal uses a variety of sensors to determine what sort of car you are driving. Using this information, the robot can work out the type of fuel cap your car has and the kind of fuel it uses.
The robotic arm then carefully opens your car's gas flap, unscrews the gas cap, inserts the gas nozzle, and fills your car with gas. Now this may not sound like earth-shaking news, but the next time you have to fill your car in inclement weather with a freezing cold wind whistling up your trouser legs and rain drops trickling down the back of your neck, I bet you'll think back to this blog and say "I wish this gas station had one of those robots that Max was waffling on about!"
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.