Ford made a grocery shopping cart with emergency braking and we’re not entirely sure why.
Is this a slightly late April Fools joke? We’re not sure. We know that Ford Europe often has a greater sense of humor than the Ford we have here in North America, but this seems to be a giant waste of Ford’s resources.
Officially called the “Self-braking Trolley” (because that’s what they call shopping carts in Europe), it’s a shopping cart with Ford’s “pre-collision assist technology”. Which is essentially emergency-braking for when sensors detect the car (or in this case, “trolley”) is about to hit something.
In vehicles, emergency-braking uses cameras and radar to determine when an object is in front of the car and whether or not to take control. A warning sounds if something is still far away enough that the human can apply the brakes, but if the system detects that collision is imminent, it takes that choice away from the human behind the wheel and just stomps on the brakes for you.
Ford said that the cart here is equipped with a “sensor”, but we find it a little hard to believe that a fully-functioning radar is hidden somewhere within that unassuming white exterior.
“Pre-Collision Assist technology can help our customers avoid accidents or mitigate the effects of being involved in a collision,” said Ford marketing director Anthony Ireson as though it explained anything at all. “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.”
This is apparently part of Ford’s “Interventions” series, which showcases Ford technology in more everyday applications. There’s also a “noise-canceling kennel” that uses active noise cancellation to keep your pooch quiet, as well as a “lane-keeping bed” that uses lane-keeping tech to keep spouses from crossing their side of the bed.
The self-braking trolley will apparently prevent accidents if it were to roll away while also preventing children from getting into too much trouble. If it were to ever see production, that is.