Self-driving technology has been seen in cars, delivery robots and now a $3,300 (£2,700) “hands-free” motorised stroller that can cruise along with the parent, using AI to detect obstacles and danger on the pavement.
The Ella smart stroller by the Canadian startup Glüxkind aims to be the “driver assist” of parenting to bring the buggy into the 21st century. It is being shown off at the annual CES tech show in Las Vegas alongside various other gadgets.
The stroller is packed with sensors, motors and AI and is capable of driving itself when empty, keeping up with parents while they hold their infants and stopping automatically if it goes out of reach or encounters an obstacle.
Electric motors also aid when manually pushing the 13.6kg stroller, similar to an e-bike, assisting with inclines and automatically braking when going downhill, with speed capped at a maximum of just over 4mph. Sensors on the handle ensure it is being held at all times when it is carrying an infant, to comply with safety regulations, while it has an automatic parking brake when stationary to solve any runaway pram issues. The stroller has space for up to six shopping bags, too.
Cameras dotted around the frame of the buggy track moving and stationary objects such as people, bikes and benches in real time, alerting parents to any potential collision dangers through sounds and flashing lights in the handle. A smartphone app tracks routes and distance and can locate the pram if lost.
After an outing, the stroller promises to take the stress out of getting babies to sleep with an automatic rock-my-baby feature, which gently sways backwards and forwards on its wheels to lull them back to sleep. And if that doesn’t work, a built-in customisable white noise machine may help.
The smart stroller was inspired by the new-parent experiences of the startup’s co-founders Anne Hunger and Kevin Huang, who founded Glüxkind in 2020 and are graduates of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s sandbox innovation programme. The stroller was named a CES innovation award honouree and is available for limited preorder in North America, with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign due to open up in the spring.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work into this product and are excited to get it into more customers’ hands in 2023,” said Hunger, the chief product officer of Glüxkind, who expects deliveries to start in the US and Canada in April before expanding to Europe in 2024.