Meet 'Miles,' BP's talking, AI-powered gas pump

Dive Brief:

  • BP is testing “Miles,” an artificial intelligence-driven gas pump, in Chicago and Brooklyn, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
  • The interactive gas pumps are designed to appeal to millennials, and allow users to play personal Pandora playlists, post photos to social media and engage in conversations.
  • The pump is activated via a motion detector and greets consumers while offering Pandora formats they can choose from while pumping gas.

Dive Insight:

BP's move illustrates how AI tech is beginning to permeate aspects of daily life beyond purely technology-driven spaces, and in fun, novel ways. The Tribune reports that no ads will be served on Miles for the moment except for those that would already appear on Pandora or via BP, but there's rich marketing potential here, especially as more advanced AI programs like IBM's Watson have proven to be capable of things like automated native ad targeting.

The partnership with Pandora shows that digital platforms are interested in hopping on the integrated AI trend as well, and the internet radio service (and its sponsors) can potentially reach a variety of new users via Miles, especially in the coveted millennial demographic.

Following that, BP is smart to incorporate social elements into Miles — Adweek reports the pump provides Snapchat-like filters users can overlay on photos and video, which they are then encouraged to share — as it might help the AI service "go viral" in a sense as people post about their positive BP experience. The lingering concern here is that not every single object needs AI capabilities, and some users might be annoyed or taken aback once their gas pump starts chatting them up. 

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Top image credit: markusspiske