Ford invents self-braking trolley to prevent supermarket collisions

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In a bid to prevent children from causing chaos as their parents do the food shop, Ford has invented a shopping trolley that is able to brake automatically when a possible collision is detected.

Ford has created the self-braking trolley prototype after experimenting with ways to improve the supermarket experience.

Drawing on its pre-collision technology used in many of its car models, the trolley is fitted with sensors to detect people and objects ahead.

It warns the driver of a presence, and if there is no response, the system automatically applies the brakes if a potential accident is detected.

Anthony Ireson, director of marketing communications at Ford of Europe, said: “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.”

Parenting expert Tanish Carey said: “Parents often dread supermarket shopping because they are trying to get a job done and kids just want to play.

“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.”

The new invention is part of the Ford Interventions series which applies Ford technologies to everyday problems.

However, the carmaker has no plans to make the self-braking trolley experiment available to the public.

The firm created a noise-blocking kennel prototype in 2018 to protect dogs from the distressing sounds of fireworks using a similar technology to that found in headphones and cars.

Earlier this year, it invented a smart bed prototype that uses conveyor belt technology to keep “space invaders” on their side, dubbed the lane-keeping bed.

It was created by adapting technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane.

Samson Oyedeyi

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