Smartbe introduces self-driving stroller with host of other posh features

By Daniel Uria  |  Jan. 22, 2016 at 5:30 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Developers have created an automated, self-driving stroller that allows parents to control its movement through a smartphone app.

The stroller, called Smartbe, offers additional features like a bottle warmer, automatic rocket chair, music speakers and anti-theft sensor, as well as three navigation modes that allow for various degrees of user contact.

Smartbe's defining feature is its self-propelled mode that automatically allows the stroller to move in-step with the user. It can also be propelled manually like a traditional stroller and engage it's engine to assist pushing over steep inclines.

The stroller was designed with joggers in mind, but Smartbe Chief Financial Officer Mark Ramondt told Today that it can also offer relief to parents with multiple children.

"I'm the father of two girls and I've had the problem when one wants to be in your arms and the other wants to be pushed," Ramondt said. "The simple addition of technology to a stroller is really beneficial."

The Smartbe stroller is available through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, launched on Jan. 18, where buyers can pre-order different models with varying features.

The base "Smartbe Glamour" model, which sells for $400, features all of the design elements of the product except a self-driving engine and other mechanical features found on the fully-loaded "Smartbe Self-porpelled Bassinet" model.

Smartbe said it expects the high-end model to sell for about $3,000 when it officially launches next year.

"It's an expensive product, there's no doubt about it. But think of it as a first," Ramondt said. "Having new technology is expensive at first. I think in the U.S., a Tesla will run you about $80,000. Think of the first iPhones — they were expensive."

The strollers will go into production even if the Indiegogo is not fully funded, Smartbe said, and the anticipated delivery dates range from December 2016 for some of the lower end models to April 2017 for the higher-end versions.

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