Neste is the first company in Finland to introduce automated shopping and robotized refueling at its filling station. With the pilot filling station in Siltamäki, Vantaa, Finland, the company is testing a whole new kind of a customer experience. It is one vision of the future of the filling station, where goods are sold through a fully automated system and a robot fills up the tank.
“We at Neste are curious and eager to develop our products and services with a view to future needs. This is what the pilot station in Finland is all about: renewing the customer experience completely and identifying rapidly changing customer needs and expectations,” says Panu Kopra, Executive Vice President for Marketing & Services business area at Neste.
“New technologies and digitalization bring opportunities to serve our customers in many different ways. Technological development will move forward in leaps and bounds in the coming years but we want to develop the services of the future already now. The Siltamäki station pilot project is a cluster of services that is groundbreaking not only in Finland but internationally as well,” Kopra continues.
Neste Easy Deli’s architecture and product range light up the gray of winter
The Neste Easy Deli shop at Siltamäki Neste Express filling station offers customers handy Grab-and-Go snacks, fresh groceries, and car-related products such as glass washing liquid. Neste Easy Deli is open 24 hours a day every day of the year.
“The Siltamäki Easy Deli is a pilot project, and a completely new service. It will allow us to experiment and discover how this type of automated shopping concept fits the daily lives of motorists. Based on the experience gained, we will decide next year on the possible expansion of the concept. We will still have service stations with staff, and the need for these will not disappear. We have over 200 own and Neste K retailers in Finland, and they will continue to give Neste stations in Finland a human face and heart,” Kopra adds.
“Easy Deli has been designed to create a welcoming space for customers. We gave priority to wood and other natural materials. We used a variety of features and details, and paid special attention to brightness, ease of access and the enhancement of security and a safe feel. Easy Deli is architecturally interesting from the outside as well, because its outer walls create a reflective effect as the surface material waves in the wind and reflects the lights of passing traffic. The Siltamäki Easy Deli brings a fresh look to station architecture, and brings some much-needed light in the middle of winter,” says San Francisco Creative Director Oona Colliander, who was responsible for designing the architectural concept of the Easy Deli shop in Siltamäki.
Neste is also breaking new ground at the Siltamäki station with robotized refueling, which is still a rarity internationally. In the future, as the Siltamäki station shows, refueling will be carried out with the help of a special robotic arm, with no human intervention. The robot refueling system will be tested with a selected test team before being introduced to customers. To use the new system, customers will need a chip installation in the car for the robot to identify. This will enable the system to identify the make of car and the recommended fuel for it.
“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,” Kopra says.