back to article Jocasta? Jocasta! Don't ram that trolley into the man: New tech promises an end to this scenario

Finally a solution has surfaced to compensate for parents that simply refuse to say no to their little darlings: a self-braking supermarket trolley. Ever found yourself swerving out of the way of an overindulged juvenile who has commandeered a metal monster and is sweeping down the aisles at pace, only to end up shunting or …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This tech is solving for the problem: I am scared to say no to my child. The little @£$%

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Coat

      Transportation technology applied to the field of pediatric behavioral correction has existed for some time: my mom's sandals (flip-flops / thongs depending on your location) used to do marvels when judiciously applied to me and my siblings' backsides!

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Yes, those worked very well. But in this day and age, she would be arrested and prosecuted for child abuse. Seems SJW's and the bleeding hearts running amok has brought us to this point.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          So some sort of autonomous drone capable of identifying the little crotch-goblins and applying a slipper would be the solution ?

          A sort of Kindergarden Terminator ?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Either that or the tots have become so rebellious they'll grab the sandal, beat their mum into the hospital, and you end up with a kid no one (parents included) want.

  2. CT

    Those turncoat foxes...

    "Now all Ford needs to do is identify a way to stop foxes defecting in your garden"

    Visions of Red Communist foxes being denied asylum by Ford?

  3. ArrZarr Silver badge
    Holmes

    What's with the Oedipus reference?

    It might just be a name chosen at random, but I trust El Reg to have higher standards than that.

    1. thosrtanner

      It's a pretty sounding name given to daughters by the newly rich who didn't have a classical education and hence have no idea of the origin of the name.

      The anglicised form is Joyce.

    2. iron Silver badge

      @ArrZarr

      You've never read Private Eye have you?

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      I thought it was a David Nobbs reference

      Linda Patterson (née Perrin) has two children: Adam and Jocasta.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: I thought it was a David Nobbs reference

        Tom: It's just that we like our own way of bringing them up. We treat them, not as children, but as tiny adults.

        Not to mention but I will anyway, Linda's incestuous affair with Uncle Jimmy "There's been a cock-up on the catering front" Anderson as the TV series dropped some of the darker subplots from the books.

    4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Oh Jocasta...

      Hi mum, I've just killed this eagle-man-lion thing, what do we do now???

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >It might just be a name chosen at random, but I trust El Reg to have higher standards than that.

      You grasp of the classics is very poor. Jocasta was a female version of Ultron in the Avengers.

  4. Adrian Harvey
    Pint

    They were clearly trollied when they came up with this idea.

  5. toxicdragon

    Own up

    I would just be happy with people admitting it was their own fault. Had this happen to me yesterday, I was stood in a corner, not moving, someones kid rammed into me, mother started hurling abuse at me. Take control of your hellish crotch spawn.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Own up

      Just shove the trolley back, just as hard as it ran into you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Own up

      > I was stood in a corner, not moving, someones kid rammed into me, mother started hurling abuse at me

      Don't block other people. Lesson learned?

      And grammar lessons may be an idea too.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Own up

        "Don't block other people. Lesson learned?"

        1) You cannot be blocking someone if you are in a corner. 2) Blocking someone is not an excuse for them to assault you. I guess those are two lessons.

        "And grammar lessons may be an idea too."

        Do you mean 'might'?

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    What about a self-baking trolley?

    Just chuck in eggs, flour, sugar, etc and it'll bake you a lovely cake.

    Oh wait... I misread the title... oh dear.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I do all my food shopping online with Ocado...

    ...so I never have to see your ill-disciplined, screaming, chemically-hyped, attention starved, iPad addicted kids with their stupid oh-so-middle class names.

    Before you downvote me, parents, look deep into your heart and acknowledge the inadequacy and poor lifestyle choices that brought you to this.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: I do all my food shopping online with Ocado...

      I have no kids and I'm perfectly happy with my terrible lifestyle choices but I downvoted you for being a dick. Don't be a dick.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I do all my food shopping online with Ocado...

      Those kids have a chance of growing out of those traits, you however still seem to be a dick. What makes you better?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Devil

    But... But... But...

    40 years ago, that child was probably me! What's life coming to if you can't wait til Mum's back is turned then zoom the trolley off down the aisle at a run, then jump onto the wheeltops and ride your mighty metal steed to glory?

    Anyway trolleys don't come equipped with brakes. Except those airport baggage ones. And this equipment will probably quadruple the cost of them, so is never going to happen. Other than that, it's a great idea...

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: But... But... But...

      Forty years ago that child was me too. Last week that child was me too.

      You're never too old to race a supermarket trolley!

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: But... But... But...

        Did that as a charity pram push, team of three dressed in towels for nappies, racing from pub to pub drowning half a pint at each one, changing the pram (Shopping trolley) occupants towel (Or just covering in flour).

        Fun times being chased up the high street by a bus, remember it well.

        PH because she knows how to make babies.

    2. The Mole

      Re: But... But... But...

      You missed out the fact it is going to require batteries, that will need charging.

      Solvable perhaps by having them as coin unlockable trolleys, with it doubling up as the power cable so you literally daisy chain them to charge? Though if they do become popular lost trolleys would provide some very interesting parts for electronic projects..

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: But... But... But...

        The price of the system would be so high you would need a deposit to use such a trolley, and have it checked upon return for any damage before you can get your deposit back.

        It would be cheaper to rent shin guards to concerned customers... Sounds more like a belated April 1st joke to me.

        1. Woza
          Joke

          Re: But... But... But...

          To complement the shin guards, how about a rule that says every trolley must be attached to the responsible adult with a 1m bungee cord. That would ensure the consequences end up where they belong!

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: But... But... But...

        You missed out the fact it is going to require batteries, that will need charging.

        Given that this only has to work when the trolley is in motion, dynamos on the wheels and a bank of capacitors should do the trick. Of course, then people are going to repurpose them to make home-made cattleprods...

    3. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: But... But... But...

      "Anyway trolleys don't come equipped with brakes. "

      Not true. Not intended for slowing running children, but as theft prevention. Some stores in urban areas have shopping carts with brakes/locks in one or more wheels that get activated if taken off of store property, using a system similar to an "invisible dog fence". Around here, some people will take them to carry their groceries home and either abandon them or take them to the nearest bit of water and dump them in, so investing in the systems makes sense.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: But... But... But...

      "And this equipment will probably quadruple the cost of them, so is never going to happen."

      It could be sold to the supermarkets by geofencing so they can't be pushed out of the car park.

  9. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Oh Lord

    Thats all we need, an effing "Smart" trollies with built in Google Assitant and "AI" assitance

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Oh Lord

      I see you're buying a pork pie and a bag of lollies. Would you like me to phone the nutritionist for you, or just call an ambulance?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can i claim my royalty payment?

    I have argued before that actually supermarket trolleys are the perfect testbed for developing autonomous vehicles. If a trolley can cope with the chaotic environment of a supermarket - the children, the shelf stackers, the idiots agonising over the best brand of quinoa, the spill in aisle 10 - then maybe they are getting close to being capable of being let loose on a road. And while it might be annoying, when it all goes wrong the casualty is likely to be a few dented tins of baked beans, rather than a fatality. Once they graduate from the supermarket they can do a postgrad airside at a big airport (plane tugs, baggage handling, refuleling etc, radar oversight and no pesky pedestrians.). Only after successfully passing these stages should they even be allowed out on a real road with a man with a red flag walking in front.

  11. LenG

    A good use for AI?

    I want a trolley which will go round the store on its own picking up my shopping while I wait in the coffee shop.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: A good use for AI?

      What a waste! If they're going to motorise the things, then I want to be driving! I want big rubber bumpers, and few friends in the supermarket racing to see who can get to the checkout first.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: A good use for AI?

        I saw that a few weeks ago at a certain discount store (starts with the letter "W"). 4 or 5 teenage girls were using the electric disability carts as race cars. The part that hit me hard was that no employee said a word to them even the ones they ran into. WTF? Once upon a time, they would have been escorted to the manager's office, parents called, and the kinder would have been banished.

    2. TRT Silver badge
  12. PurpleMonkeyDishwasher

    Mattress Land Grab

    "Other, er, useful innovations from Ford Interventions include a noise-cancelling kennel for pampered pooches, and lane-keeping beds that prevent the mattress equivalent of a land grab."

    That last one might actually be useful, I have problems in the bedroom:

    1. the cat does a land grab (Schlafen Raum) on my wife's pillow.

    2. my wife ends up sleeping in the middle of the bed.

    3. I end up sleeping on the very edge of the bed, and on one occasion actually fell out.

    1. HKmk23

      Re: Mattress Land Grab

      Buy a dog, cat will probably emigrate.

      1. OssianScotland Bronze badge

        Re: Mattress Land Grab

        The dog will sleep in the middle of the bed - you will both fall out

        Also (based on a collie I once had), he or she will sneak under the covers from the bottom end so if you don't fall out, you will wake up with a damp nose on the pillow beside you, and memories of some VERY strange dreams.

  13. SVV Silver badge

    self-braking trolley

    Terrible idea. I would expect that the brakes would probably slam on at least 20 times during an average supermarket trawl, leaving your arms feeling like you've just danced with a cyberman.

    Invent one that can fish itself out of canals and rivers, or just take itself back to the store after being left half a mile away and I might be impressed.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: self-braking trolley

      "Invent one that can fish itself out of canals and rivers, or just take itself back to the store after being left half a mile away and I might be impressed."

      Tackle the problem, not the symptoms. Self-braking trolley with GPS & geofencing; won't let itself be pushed off the premises.

  14. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    a way to stop foxes defecating in your garden

    A friend of mine found a reliable way to stop foxes and local cats defecating in his garden. Unfortunately it involves a badger defecating in his garden instead, and it effectively digs a pit latrine every time.

  15. Charles 9 Silver badge

    If they're concerned about people getting rammed by trolleys going too fast, why not invent an in-the-wheel spring-loaded brake designed to start applying when it goes faster than a few m/s so that the trolley can't move faster than say someone at a brisk walk. No batteries would be needed, and it need not be exact.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Or simply a soft bar on a weak spring at the front of the trolley. When it gets pushed back by hitting something it puts the brakes on.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        You have to keep it from building up any significant speed to begin with (as the mass and velocity translate into momentum). Even with a braking bar, if it's going at a running pace, the force of impact (the mass times the sudden deceleration) is still going to be too much even for padding. Sorta like how padding don't mean too much when strapped to a 300-pound man trained to still be able to run 40 yards in under five seconds.

  16. tfewster Silver badge

    Or a spring-loaded "pull up to release brake" lever on the handle? Little kids wouldn't be able to get the angle right, or would be lifting the trolley rather than pushing it.

    Probably wouldn't be workable, and it's addressing the wrong problem anyway...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      A little kid could climb a shelf, get a good grip, push off it and flip into the basket while still keeping a grip on the brake. Plus it'll likely be more prone to abuse which could eventually result in brake failure.

  17. Tromos

    Apply the research effort where it's really needed...

    ...design a supermarket trolley where every wheel doesn't try to go in a different direction.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Apply the research effort where it's really needed...

      Most trolley malfunctions are the result of abuse and idiocy. Abuse comes with the territory, and you can't make something idiot-proof.

  18. VerySlowData
    Go

    Why not homing trolleys

    Ford should work on trolleys that drive themselves back to the their owning supermarket, then we wouldn't have to put up with them loitering around the bus stop out the front of our house a kilometre from the shop, or in the laneway to the railway station (I refuse to say train station...)

    1. Toni the terrible

      Re: Why not homing trolleys

      why do you refuse to say train station?

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