Behold Ford's Futuristic Shopping Cart

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

This author absolutely loves Ford Europe’s extracurricular mobility projects, in the same way someone might enjoy Tommy Wiseau’s The Room or watching Orson Welles’ drunken wine advertisements for Paul Masson.

While certainly not as good as the automaker’s noise-canceling doghouse, lane-keeping bed or slow-moving Carr-E puck (my all-time favorite “mobility innovation”), Ford’s new shopping cart isn’t far behind in terms of accidental amusement. It just happens to have enough practical applications to avoid being hysterical.

However, like the other aforementioned Ford projects, the shopping cart is really more of a clever way for the automaker to tout its advanced driving systems than a solution for supermarket shoppers.

The doghouse provided an avenue for the company to mention the noise-canceling features available in the Edge SUV, the bed gave a semi-helpful visual for what lane-keeping was, and the cart does the same for automatic emergency braking. Ford has no intention of selling it to supermarkets (for now), especially since no business would splurge on the associated technologies just to help prevent minor dings in the parking lot.

In the spot, Ford’s interviewees fault children for the majority of shopping cart mishaps, suggesting that “it’s impossible to control children” when they take hold of one. While a responsible guardian (assuming those still exist) should be sufficient in minimizing the issue, Ford’s “trolley” utilizes something akin to the company’s Pre-Collision Assist to automatically halt the cart before it collides with shelving, an automobile, or some unaware geriatric who just wanted to buy a loaf of bread without being mowed down by a 10-year-old.

“Parents often dread supermarket shopping because they are trying to get a job done and kids just want to play,” parenting expert Tanith Carey, author of What’s My Child Thinking? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents, said in Ford’s press release. “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.”

Well, let’s be sure to stop that kind of thinking from manifesting itself into play. We don’t want kids trying to take control of something in their own lives or, God forbid, imagining that they’re having fun behind the wheel of an automobile. Lock it down, Ford.

The concept stops short of being truly funny, but the design of the car is another story — as it appears to be made out of paper, lightweight plastic panels and small-gauge PVC piping.

We also hate to break it to Ford Europe, but carts already exist that can stop themselves using a mechanical bar that applies pressure to the wheels whenever someone removes their hand. Some stores even have carts that sense when they’re taken beyond the property and automatically lock their wheels.

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 17 comments
  • Igloo Igloo on Apr 30, 2019

    Seems to me the entire point of the exercise was to provide a "visual" picture of said Ford automobile technology. Excellent way to get people who would not normally pay attention to a car advertisement to 'pay attention' to a car advertisement! Well done.

  • Chris Powers Chris Powers on May 01, 2019

    Who is the Old Navy model in the video?

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.
Next