American Automobile manufacturer Ford is dropping more hints it’s not stuck in automobile engineering, but can design other problem-solving tools using some of its car technology. The company’s latest innovation is a self-braking trolley that children can’t crash, designed using its car anti-collision technology.
The self-braking trolley features built-in sensors that enable it to stop automatically before hitting any obstacle, including a person and shelf. Designed with children in mind, it seems the anti-collision technology would put an end to uncomfortable rogue scenarios caused by trolley.
Ford noted that children often want to be the one riding shopping trolleys each time their parents take them to the stores. However, most of them can’t see over the top or control the shopping cart properly. The built-in sensor on the self-braking trolley detects obstacles ahead while it’s on motion and brings the cart to a halt if the riders didn’t stop them.
A prototype of the smart trolley is now the most recent in Ford’s intervention series utilizing the company’s car technology to address problems not related to vehicles. The company is also using the opportunity to advertise these features.
The self-braking trolley is following two other interventions
In December 2018, Ford unveiled its first “intervention” initiative Noise-Cancelling Kennel designed to shield dogs from getting stressed during thunderstorms or fireworks. Earlier this year, the automobile maker introduced Lane-Keeping Bed that helps couples to get better sleep at night, by forcing sleepers into maintaining their side of the bed. For the smart bed, Ford borrowed its Lane-Keeping Aid which monitors road markings and nudges the wheel of the car to enable it to maintain its lane. Ford’s Noise-canceling technology, sound-dampening cork, and automatic door system were combined to provide comfort to our canine friends.
The collision-avoidance system Ford uses to build its most recent cars was used to develop the self-braking trolley. Called pre-collision assist, the technology identifies other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists when they are in the vehicle’s lane and automatically brakes if the drivers fail to change direction from warnings. A front-facing camera is also combined with a radar that detects objects and proximity to build the self-braking trolley. That’s quite a complex system for such a device.
Ford could be unleashing its high tech tools in smaller gadgets to not only demonstrate its presence but to gradually improve the systems, mostly the self-driving and self-braking technology.
"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 Anthony Ireson, Ford’s marketing director.
The smart trolley is also a way of enriching children’s experience in pushing trollies at supermarkets since it often leaves them with the feeling of actually driving a car in an exclusive space.
"When children 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," parenting expert Tanith Carey told Dezeen.