When it comes to raising the blood pressure, for parents, the weekly shop is right up there with getting the kids to bed and meal times. And while toddler meltdowns and trips to the sweet aisle are trying, few moments can be more worrying than seeing your child career off at high speed on a supermarket trolley.
Now Ford has come up with a way of taking the stress out of even that situation – taking inspiration from the means by which new car technology helps drivers to avoid accidents on the road.
Available in most Ford models, Pre-Collison Assist technology uses a forward-facing camera and radar to detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in the road, and automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not respond to warnings.
The “Self-Braking Trolley” uses a sensor to achieve a similar outcome – to scan ahead for people and objects and automatically apply the brakes when a potential collision is detected.
“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, author of What's My Child Thinking? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents. “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.”
Just a prototype for the time being, the “Self-Braking Trolley” is part of a series of Ford Interventions; applying automotive expertise to solve the day-to-day problems we all face.
“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 Anthony Ireson, director, Marketing Communications, Ford of Europe.