The days of pulling up to a petrol station, having a nice young chap called Chuck come over and ask you how much "gas" you want, before filling your motor up (and, if you were lucky, washing your windscreen) are well over.

However, the Dutch have come up with an alternative in a new robot, which is programmed to be able to fill a car gas tank.

The "Tankpitstop" robot costs a mere 75,000 euros and is claimed to be the first of its kind.

It works by registering a car on arrival at the filling station and matching it to a database of fuel cap designs and fuel types.

Reuters explains that a robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors then 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.

It works for any car whose tank can be opened without a key, and whose contours and dimensions have been pre-recorded into the computer to avoid scratching.

Inventor and petrol station operator Nico van Staveren said that the idea came about after a visit to a farm: "I was on a farm and I saw a robotic arm milking a cow. If a robot can do that then why can't it fill a car tank, I thought".

He added: "Drivers needn't get dirty hands or smell of petrol again".

Van Staveren hopes to introduce the robot in a handful of Dutch stations by the end of the year.