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"Meet Miles, BP's chatty interactive gas pump aimed at millennials"


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"Miles," an interactive pump with a high-octane personality and a touch screen, is being tested at two Chicago-area BP stations and two in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, with an eye toward a broader rollout. The pumps use artificial intelligence to engage customers with Pandora music stations, trivia, photos for social sharing and witty banter."

"When a car pulls up to the pump, a motion detector wakes up Miles to greet customers with blaring music and a choice of Pandora radio formats.

"I'm going to play some of your favorite tracks while you fill up," Miles said during a recent visit to the River North station. "I'd be dancing if I could, but, well, I'm a pump."

Miles provides a few options to pass the time while filling the tank, including music trivia games, video e-cards and "augmented reality" photos for social sharing. If the lure of interacting with Miles isn't enough, a post-transaction text will offer a 25-cent per gallon discount for a return trip to any BP station.

For now, no ads are being fed to the consumer, beyond the ability to link to the Pandora online station and the BP gas discount.

Consumers can't turn off the music but can avoid interaction with Miles by keeping their fingers off the touch screen. "You can walk up there and fuel and completely ignore Miles if you wanted to," Dryan said."

Seems kind of iffy to let go of the nozzle and walk away towards the pump... and then, to top it off, to get engrossed in the screen. 

Agreed. Do Millennials want to talk with their gas pumps?

"Focused on millennial customers reared on multitasking, multiscreens and interactive entertainment..."

And some comments —

* Needs improvement guys. I would be impressed if it could get me a drink and clean my windshield. Why would I listen to a gas pump rather than use my phone while filling up?

* HA!! Us Baby Boomers would drive over a tube running in front of the pump which would ring a bell and some dude would come out and fill the tank, wash the windows and check the oil while we sat in the comfort of our car. You Millennials get to have commercials blasting at you while YOU have to stand out in the cold pumping the gas.

* Can't we Just. Be. Quiet. for even a few minutes a day? Do we need to dangle the toy keys in front of baby every waking minute??

All valid comments. This idea seems too much.

"Adding entertainment to the fueling experience has been gaining traction for several years. Founded in 2006, Gas Station TV pumps short video segments from ESPN, CNN and Accuweather interspersed with ads to more than 5,000 stations across the U.S., reaching a captive audience of 70 million motorists per month.

"People like to be entertained during their five minutes of downtime," said David Leider, CEO of Detroit-based Gas Station TV. "They're tied to that screen with an 8-foot rubber hose."

(Gas Station TV:  http://gstv.com/about/)

I'd prefer 5 minutes of actual downtime. 

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