Ford reveals self-braking trolley to end supermarket collisions

Ford’s self-braking supermarket trolley uses sensor technology to detect and avoid everyday accidents

You might find it hard to believe but Ford has built a supermarket trolley equipped with self-braking technology. The prototype design uses similar autonomous safety tech to that found in Ford passenger cars, where it’s dubbed Pre-Collision Assist.

Data gathered from a sensor allows the trolley to detect obstacles and trigger the brakes when an imminent impact is detected, either in the aisles or in the car park. Ford also suggests it could help rein-in the kind of reckless piloting that often results when a parent’s back is turned and a child takes the trolley handle.

The trolley design forgoes traditional wire mesh in favour of an angular shape with plastic labels attached to a metal frame. There’s a chunky base to house the wheels, sensor and electronics but the actual basket section looks to be on the small side, so capacity may be a concern for anyone used to doing a ‘big shop’.

Everything you need to know about driverless cars

“Pre-Collision Assist technology can help our customers avoid accidents or mitigate the effects of being involved in a collision”, said Anthony Ireson, marketing communications director of Ford Europe. “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.”

There’s no word on how much a supermarket trolley equipped with an advanced sensor and braking system might cost, or on whether the technology would prevent the shopping cart being flung into canals, but Ford insists the design is just a prototype for the time being, anyway. As a means of promoting Ford’s Pre-Collision Assist technology and giving supermarket shoppers a tantalising glimpse at what the future may hold, it does the job.

Could Ford’s self-braking trolley concept ever catch on? Let us know in the comments…

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