Electric mobility is clearly on the rise. E-cars, e-buses, e-bikes, e-scooters – and now also e-strollers. The German electric-giant Bosch and the Swedish baby carriage manufacturer Emmaljunga are launching an intelligent stroller with electric drive. According to a survey conducted byBosch among parents with a child from zero to four years of age, and expectant parents, more and more people are looking for electric support for baby carriages. Nine out of ten parents think comfort and safety are the most important criteria when buying a stroller.
One might wonder, who needs a stroller that doesn’t have to be pushed manually because it is powered by a motor? But the inventors emphasize that the e-stroller is by no means about laziness. “Basically, the Bosch eStroller system can increase the comfort and safety of everyday life and excursions for all parents,” explains Johannes Kähm, Product Manager for the eStroller at Bosch. “Of course, the advantages of the system come into their own on hilly ground. But even in very windy areas, such as on the coast, the system can be an enormous help in pushing and braking, as our product tests show. The Bosch eStroller system also opens up new possibilities for grandparents and people with disabilities.”
Thanks to electronic support, it is not only more convenient for parents to push their offspring, it is also better for their own health. In user tests, Bosch has discovered that the eStroller can significantly improve the parents’ posture. Uphill and downhill, the backs of mum, dad, grandma, or grandpa are much less strained than with a purely mechanical stroller. “Its steering support also offers clear advantages when pushing with one hand. For example, turns can be mastered more easily. In addition, the drive system helps to keep the lane on banking. After all, parents often move the carriages with one hand, for example while holdings older sibling on the other hand,” Bosch writes on its website.
The eStroller is powered by two electric motors on the rear axle – including a Bluetooth module and sensor system. Sensors, such as those used in smartphones, take the speed and acceleration of the stroller, among other things, and assess the surface on which it is being moved. “Using algorithms, they can determine in a fraction of a second what mummy or daddy is up to.”
No substitute for the user
With the eStroller, security is even more important than comfort. Similar to eBikes and pedelecs, the engine helps when going uphill, making it easier to push. Downhill, the stroller is automatically slowed down by the engine brake. There will also be no more dangerous situations when the stroller rolls away if the parents forget to pull the locking brake. An electromechanical locking device will then close the locking brake. Nevertheless, parents must watch where they are going. Chatting on the mobile phone and relying on the eStroller to automatically stop in front of a lantern pole is not possible.
“The Bosch eStroller system is an assistance system designed to support user activity based on sensor data and intelligent algorithms. However, negligent misconduct on the part of the user is not compensated for,” Kähm emphasizes. Parents who walk with their strollers must continue to pay attention to their surroundings, to traffic, and of course to their babies. “The automatic brake is used to stop the carriage when the eStroller is no longer controlled by a user, for example when it is accidentally let go of or when the user forgets to pull the locking brake. The eStroller should increase the comfort and safety of parents and babies, not replace the user.
Control via app
There are no switches or buttons on the eStroller-handle. Everything is controlled via Bluetooth app, which is available for both Android and iOS. One can determine in three steps how much of the electrical support they want. The app can also be used to activate an alarm function that warns parents if, for example, they leave the stroller in front of a café and someone tries to push it away. In addition, an alarm tone goes off on the stroller via an integrated loudspeaker and the locking brake automatically engages again. In addition, the app displays the battery status and warns plenty of time ahead when the energy is running out. The 18-volt lithium-ion battery is the same as in standard Bosch tools such as cordless screwdrivers, which has the advantage that the respective battery can also be used as a replacement battery for the other device.
The range is up to 15 kilometers, the charging time about two and a half hours. The maximum supported speed is 6 km/h, the current legal limit. Of course, the user can also jog with the eStroller, Kähm emphasizes, “but it is no longer supported at speeds over 6 km/h.” The eStroller also has a USB interface that can be used to charge the smartphone.
However, if the battery should ever give up, the eStroller does not need to be parked. “If the smartphone paired with the eStroller switches off, the Bluetooth connection is disconnected,” says Johannes Kähm. “When the eStroller system is switched on, the security functions of the system are still available to the user: Brake support when going downhill and the automatic braking function. If the battery of the eStroller is also empty, it can be used like a conventional baby carriage. And without any restrictions”.