Hold on to your baby hats: Self-driving technology is making its way into strollers.
Canada-based baby gear start-up Gluxkind unveiled its Ella AI Powered Smart Stroller at this year’s CES, the Las Vegas consumer electronics trade show that features some of the most innovative — and extraordinary — new technology.
The smart stroller offers much of the same technology found in autonomous cars and delivery robots, including a dual motor system for uphill climbs and automatic brake assist for downhill descents. As a Tesla with “Autopilot” The Gluxkind stroller’s onboard tech has sensors that detect objects in the environment – but it’s meant to serve as an “extra pair of eyes and extra hands” according to the company’s website – not a replacement for a caregiver.
The Ella stroller is able to drive itself for hands-free strolling – but only when there’s no child inside. It uses cameras to monitor the area and navigate the sidewalks.
For parents who are likely and understandably nervous about putting their baby in a stroller of their own accord, Gluxkind has one provided YouTube video with some use cases. A parent walking down the hill with a stroller rushes to rescue a child’s fallen toy which rolls away. The stroller brakes by itself.
In another demo, a child is tired of being in a stroller and wants to be carried. Ella goes for a walk herself while the parents carry the child.
Self-driving technology is not yet fully proven and safe not ready for prime time. Although companies that have implemented the technology in cars say that when used correctly, they add an element of safety and the driver pays attention, placing children in the care of AI may not be for everyone.
Founded in 2020, Gluxkind has also equipped the Ella with additional stroller-specific features, including “Automatic Rock-My-Baby” and a built-in white-noise machine to soothe sleeping toddlers. The whole system is equipped with a car seat, a baby cradle and a toddler seat.
“The development was driven by our own experience as new parents,” wrote Anne Hunger, CPO and co-founder of Gluxkind, in a November press release. “We’ve put a lot of hard work into this product and look forward to getting it into the hands of more customers in 2023.”
For $3,300, parents can get on the pre-order list for the £30 Ella, one of the consumer tech products that won an Innovation Awards Honoree at the 2023 CES show. According to the company’s website, deliveries of the stroller are scheduled to begin in April 2023.