The family weekly shop. We’ve all been there or seen it. Kids running around screaming, sneaking sweets in the trolley and having a full on meltdown because Mum has said no to buying the packet of goo that makes fart noises when you push your fingers in to it. It’s a stressful experience for any parent, up there with getting the kids ready for school and the ever dreaded meal times. Now when your child isn’t having a melt down and you’re browsing the shelf for that bottle of toilet cleaner that you think smells really nice you think to yourself “wait a minute, it’s far too quiet” and you turn around, toilet cleaner in hand to see your kids doing their best racing driver impression with the trolley careering off at high speed straight towards that nice display of Cherry Soda. Good heavens how are you going to get the stains out this time?
But parents, now is the time to rejoice because although anyone is yet to develop a product that will stop your little terrors from being little terrors (nothing that’s legal anyway) someone at Ford has thought about how they could limit child destruction levels at the supermarket and has come up with the ‘Self-Braking Trolley’ to make the family shop just a little less stressful.
And before you say it, no. This isn’t a joke.
Available on most Ford vehicles nowadays is a fancy little gadget called Pre-collision assist which detects vehicles and pedestrians in the road ahead, or who could cross the vehicle’s path, and warns you of their presence. If you don’t respond the system automatically applies the brakes thus preventing you from having an accident. The technology uses a forward facing camera and radar system to detect objects in the road and around you and applies the brakes should the driver not respond in time to warnings. The same technology has now been strapped to the front of a shopping trolley. Should you fail to spot the shopper in front of you because you’re too busy staring aimless at the shelves whilst you walk along or your child had commandeered the trolley and is now doing trolley drag racing even though they cant see over the handle at the top then the sensors and camera on the trolley will stop it in its tracks should it detect an imminent collision. That means no more bumps and scrapes with fellow shoppers or having to apologies to the staff because your child has just wiped out four shelves of cat food.
There is no news yet on a price tag and we are yet to discover is the self-braking system will prevent the trolley from being flung in to any nearby lakes or streams but we may have just seen a glimpse of what the future of shopping could look like. You could call this a pointless invention but it is proof of how technology and development in cars could make its way over in to other aspects of day to day life to keep us safe and make life run just that little bit smoother. All they need to do now is attach a supermarket sat nav to it with David Attenborough’s soothing voice to guide you around the spirt aisles and I will be a happy man.
Images from Ford Media Centre