If self-driving cars are the future, then can we expect the technology to eventually expand from vehicles into other, unexpected areas? One New York startup thinks so and has launched an Indiegogo campaign for a self-propelled stroller.
Smartbe, which is marketed as "the first intelligent stroller in the world,” may not be able to do self-driving quite in the same way as smart cars, but it’s still got the potential to be the most technologically advanced stroller ever made.
Smartbe uses a motion-tracking sensor to follow you around. The built-in engine propels it forward or backward without the need for physical contact, meaning it can move "uphill or while you're shopping or running," according to the campaign page.
It also has an ‘assist propelled mode,’ which uses some of the engine power to help the stroller move about when it’s being pushed. You can also turn the engine off entirely and use the Smartbe like a traditional stroller.
Smartbe also comes with wireless speakers so your baby can listen to his or her favorite tunes, a bottle warmer, three retractable canopies and a temperature-controlled bassinet with air filters. It can even charge your smartphone.
“I know how uncomfortable it is to push an ordinary stroller through snow in Manhattan, up hills in San Francisco, or for a jog along the path through the heat and humidity of Miami,” Guillermo Morro CEO and founder of Smartbe told SFGate. “So, I set out to design a better stroller, one that combines all the greatest technology to give parents and babies a better experience.”
As you would expect with an autonomous stroller, there are a plenty of safety features on the Smartbe. In addition to its directional signals, the stroller comes with internal and external cameras and an anti-theft alarm. There’s also a physical cord, similar to what you would find on a treadmill, that can be connected to a parent's wrist to ensure that the stroller doesn’t get too far away. "If the cord is pulled from the stroller it instantly stops," says spokesman Lance Laytner.
Smartbe’s many functions can be controlled using an iOS or Android app, and you can expect its engine to last for about 6 hours.
Unsurprisingly, this Rolls Royce of baby strollers comes at a premium price; the cheapest self-propelled model is $3099. In the few days it’s been active, the campaign has already reached almost $8000 – ten percent of its target – through 10 backers, but so far no one has ordered a self-propelled model.
Should the campaign be successful, the semi-autonomous Smartbe is expected to ship in 2017. Check out the video below for more information on how your baby can be the envy of toddlers everywhere.