Have you ever been in a supermarket and all of a sudden you see a kid using a trolley like his or her own personal battering ram? It’s been known to happen, which is why Ford wants to help parents keep their blood pressure down when they go shopping.
The solution? Why, the self-braking trolley of course, inspired by the automaker’s Pre-Collision Assist technology, similar to systems that help cars avoid collisions on the road.
Pre-Collision Assist is available in most Ford models and uses a forward-facing camera and radar in order to detect other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. In case of an emergency, the system can apply the brakes if the driver is unable to do so in a timely fashion.
The self-braking trolley works in a similar way, scanning ahead for people and objects, applying the brakes if a potential collision is detected.
“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,” said Ford of Europe marketing exec Anthony Ireson.
In case you’re hoping to see something like this soon in your local supermarket, it would be wise not to hold your breath, as this is only a prototype for the time being – and part of a series of Ford inventions where automotive expertise is being applied in order to solve day-to-day problems.
Would it really come in handy though if it is ever put into production? If you’re a parent, we wouldn’t be surprised if you said ‘yes’.
“Parents often dread supermarket shopping because they are trying to get a job done and kids just want to play,” said parenting expert Tanith Carey. “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.”