Behold Ford's Futuristic Shopping Cart
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.
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