The PetrolPlaza audio version is presented to you by UNITI expo 2021, the leading retail petroleum and car wash trade fair in Europe.

English Español A Neste petrol station in Finland uses a robot arm to fuel people’s cars

The Finnish retailer has been testing automatic shopping and refuelling at its modern pilot station in Siltamäki.

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Automation has finally arrived at the pump – a robotic arm will move the nozzle into the tank without the need for any assistance. The first pilot project of its kind is at a Neste site in Siltamäki, Vantaa, Finland - now active for six months.

Finnish oil and biofuels company Neste worked together with Autofuel to install and program the fulling arm, which serves as an add-on to existing pumps.

“The technology simply means, that the gas station can offer a top level convenience not only in the shop but also at the forecourt. Autofuel is an automated link between car and energy source, no matter what kind of fuel the car needs,” says Jonas Thor Olsen, CEO and Founder of Autofuel.

To use the new system, customers need a chip installation in the car for the robot to identify the size and fuel type. Users also need to change their fuel flap in order for the system to enter the tank.   

When asked about the next steps for Autofuel, Jonas explains that they want to develop the tool to adapt to alternative fuels such as electric cars and hydrogen as well as improving customer interface.

“Business wise, we are looking into more pilot projects on European gas stations. After starting in Finland we have met an impressive interest for new installations,” adds Jonas.

People with reduced mobility, locations with very low temperatures and autonomous vehicles could be the biggest beneficiaries of this new technology.

“If the piloting and commissioning of the robotic refueling system are successful, we hope we can add robots to other filling stations as well. Already, a customer can pay for fuel at Neste stations on their mobile phone, and in the future, refueling will be possible without the customer leaving the car. In the future, a robot arm could be a good aid for people with reduced mobility,” said Panu Kopra, Executive Vice President for Marketing & Services business area at Neste, as the time of the opening.

Neste’s pilot station also offers an automated shopping experience. Open 24 hours a day, Neste Easy Deli offers grab-and-go snacks, fresh groceries, and car-related products such as glass washing liquid. 

*PetrolPlaza recorded the functioning of the robot arm at UNITI expo 2018. (03:07)

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