Ford has developed a prototype shopping cart that brakes all on its own, called the “Self-Braking Trolley,” which takes a page from vehicle technology that helps drivers avoid obstacles.
In particular, the company used their pre-collision assist tech, found in most Ford car models, as inspiration. The system detects other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists while driving via its forward-facing camera and radar. Once a potential collision is identified, the system will automatically apply the brakes, that is, if the driver hasn’t done so already.
The shopping carts can also accomplish this (scan for obstacles and automatically apply the brakes in the event of a potential collision) with a sensor.
Anthony Iresonm, marketing director at Ford, says, “Pre-Collision Assist technology can help our customers avoid accidents or mitigate the effects of being involved in a collision. We thought that showing how similar thinking could be applied to a shopping trolley would be a great way to highlight what can be a really useful technology for drivers.”
The company chalks up shopping cart-related stress to kids, quoting parenting expert Tanith Carey saying, “Parents often dread supermarket shopping because they are trying to get a job done and kids just want to play. Children love to copy adults and experiment with feeling more in control. When they push a trolley, to their minds, it’s like they are behind the wheels of a car—with long, wide supermarket aisles as their racetrack.”
Ford aims to reduce the stress of shopping with energy youngsters running around by trying to halt any high-speed shopping cart chases. If only the carts could fix those lovely candy-aisle temper tantrums too.
The self-braking shopping cart is a result of Ford’s Interventions series, which uses car technology to solve day-to-day challenges. The series also featured a “Lane-Keeping Bed” and “Noise Cancelling Kennel.”