The idea of a baby carriage cruising down the street with nobody pushing it might seem terrifying, but a Canadian startup has created a pram that does just that.
GlüxKind's Ella stroller, on display at CES, is equipped with a dual electric motor setup and a system of sensors that let parents go hands-free... sort of. The stroller won't drive off alone with a child inside. The self-driving mode works only when the stroller is empty.
In addition, a person needs to walk behind the stroller. If the sensors don't pick up that someone's there, the stroller stops. Sensors that surround the stroller can also "see" potential obstacles like bikes or cars and alert parents to the potential dangers.
Though that may not seem super helpful, GlüxKind says the mode could be useful for parents if their child becomes fussy and needs to be carried, because it would free up their hands to hold the child as they walk behind the stroller. The electric dual motor can also help parents climb steep hills by doing the heavy lifting for them while they just steer.
The stroller's battery, which can be swapped out for charging purposes, provides about eight hours of pushing power and takes about four hours to fully charge, the company said. There's also a rocking mode that scoots the stroller forward and backward to ease your child to sleep, along with a built-in white noise machine.
The Ella features a look similar to many premium strollers. There's a bassinet for little babies that can be swapped out for a front-facing seat as the child grows. At about 33 pounds, the Ella is super heavy for a stroller, mainly thanks to its motor and battery. Its frame folds up easily, but it's something you'd probably stow in the back of an SUV, not carry up a flight of stairs.
Fair warning, all that tech comes at a hefty price. The Ella will run you $3,800, nearly double the cost of even the most superpremium, nonmotorized strollers. But that hasn't stopped some people from buying them. The company was recently forced to cut off preorders for fear it wouldn't be able to meet demand fast enough.
GlüxKind's initial run of 100 strollers is currently being produced in a facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is set to ship in July.