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Remember the days prior to self-serve? OK, maybe none of you are that

old. Well, if the Dutch have their way, we may soon been seeing "Full

Serve," "Self-Serve," and "Robot Serve" prices at gas stations.

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.

$111K?  Seems like, since you have to get out of the car anyway to "register" the car, this is a solution in search of a problem.

Umm, I think they meant the robot would register the car by way of optical analysis. We do have that capability, you know, it's just processor intensive. And if that's not what they meant, then what a failure.

Oh, and they had gas dispensing robots working in the mid 90's. They just had to have special gas fittings on the cars in order to find and open them; a much simpler solution, but not as consumer-friendly.