Good Thinking

Ford puts the brakes on outta-control shopping carts

Ford puts the brakes on outta-...
There are currently no plans to manufacture the Self-Braking Trolley
There are currently no plans to manufacture the Self-Braking Trolley
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The system could keep unmanned carts from rolling into vehicles in supermarket parking lots
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The system could keep unmanned carts from rolling into vehicles in supermarket parking lots
There are currently no plans to manufacture the Self-Braking Trolley
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There are currently no plans to manufacture the Self-Braking Trolley

While many kids do like pushing grocery carts, they can get kind of over-enthusiastic about it, and often run into things as a result. It was with this supermarket hazard in mind that Ford recently created the one-off Self-Braking Trolley.

The trolley is equipped with sensors similar to those in Ford's Pre-Collision Assist system, which utilizes a forward-facing camera and radar to scan the road in front of the car. If the driver doesn't respond to warnings of impending collisions with pedestrians or other vehicles, the system automatically applies the brakes.

In the case of the trolley, the brakes are applied if it's about to hit things such as shelves, stacks of produce, or unwary customers. The system could also keep unmanned carts from rolling into vehicles in supermarket parking lots.

The system could keep unmanned carts from rolling into vehicles in supermarket parking lots
The system could keep unmanned carts from rolling into vehicles in supermarket parking lots

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

The Self-Braking Trolley (demoed in the video below) is part of the ongoing Ford Interventions series of concepts, which is focused on "applying automotive expertise to solve the day-to-day problems we all face." Other examples have included a lane-keeping bed and a noise-cancelling dog kennel.

Source: Ford

Ford ‘Self-Braking Trolley’

7 comments
Alien
Great use fo technology....but that trolley just isn't big enough for supermarkets, who use ever bigger trolleys to make customers buy more ...but with adaptation to current models - it could be a winner. Of course, someone will have to persuade the grocery chains to shell out the higher costs... and ...given the trolley theft problems (we've all seen them in the local water courses) I guess the next thing could be rogue dismantling for the clever bits to fit onto something else. Oh well the original idea was good.
richardhoye
A simple hand operated “dead-man” break provides the same function as the elaborate electronics in the story. When the hand no longer grips the trolley a wheel break is activated. How simple. Why then the need for the electronic solution? Apparently in order to sell the public unnecessary automobile technology.
Benji
Eh yet another cute PR exercise by ford. It would be too expensive to implement. Like their other creations they'll never actually be practical products. It'd be nice if they actually made commercial products out of the other two. Can't see this one being commercially viable.
Roger Garrett
Since it apparently uses Lidar as the sensor system those shopping carts with be ridiculously expensive. Tesla doesn't use Lidar on their self-driving vehicles partly because of the expense, something like $4,000 per each.
joeblake
Alien isn't looking far enough forward. With technology already built in, there could be an ideal platform for anti-theft systems. Eg if the cart is taken beyond set limits of say the carpark next to the supermarket the wheels could lock up automatically, and notify the store's security people. And if somebody decides to pop the trolley into the back of a car or utility, the technology would notify security and activate a tracking beacon. Considering how expensive even "dumb" shopping trolleys are, there could be quite extensive savings in money, probably making the cost of the tech back in theft prevention. Further, this technology could be enabled to get the trolley to return to its parking bay where it could automatically recharge the batteries (wirelessly?). Given the number of trolleys I see left somewhere by thoughtless/ lazy customers, this would be a real boon for trolley collection workers. Press the button and follow me home, trolleys, like the Pied Piper of the supermarket.
Martin Hone
This is technology just for the sake of it. Blatant promo for Ford, at best. My local supermart has trolleys with a 'deadman's brake' and they work fine. Reliable and cheap.
warren52nz
Yes trolleys that stop if you let go of the handle with a simple mechanical brake have been around airports for years. Way to re-invent the wheel Ford.