Tired of lugging your suitcase around? Wish that it’ll just follow you on its own? Well, it’ll be available soon from Travelmate Robotics. With the help of crowdsourcing, Travelmate will be producing a fully autonomous suitcase and robot. No, it doesn’t have legs, arms or a robotic head and you can’t talk to it. It’s basically a suitcase on motorized wheels with brains.
The main feature of this suitcase is that it will move on its own and follow you around. So, as you’re moving around the airport from terminal to terminal and so forth, you no longer have to pull it yourself. It’ll keep your hands free so you can keep texting, hold your baby or whatever.
How does it know to follow you? You pair it up to your smartphone. In addition to following your smartphone, it also responds to hand gestures. The suitcase has sensors to avoid obstacles and if someone was to step in front as its moving, it’ll stop and wait or move around the obstacle.
Other features include being able to use the top of the suitcase as a mobile desk. Have you ever been at an airport and the seating areas with tables and charging ports are all taken? You can now use your suitcase for this purpose as there are also USB ports to charge your mobile devices.
On a full charge, the suitcase can operate for up to 4 hours. 100 hours on standby if you choose to pull the suitcase on your own so you have plenty of juice to charge and power your electronics.
One of my concerns is that if the suitcase is following behind you and you’re not looking all the time, wouldn’t it be possible for someone to walk by and grab the suitcase without you knowing? Well, the suitcase does come with built-in GPS to help orient and know where it is to follow you but also so you can track it if it goes missing.
The other thing to, based on the sample videos they’ve put out, is that the suitcase can follow you but on your side and not necessarily behind you so you can keep an eye on it as you walk.
One of the oddest features mentioned is that it’s Open Source? What??? Open source is usually a term for software and applications where the code is available to everybody to take and modify and use for themselves. Well, apparently this is the case as well but I found it odd at first when it mentioned open source for a suitcase.
From Travelmate Robotics website
All code for Travelmate and its application will be completely open source. In addition, we will have approved mods in our application within a separate section of the Travelmate application. We think that doing this will foster a great community and improve Travelmate in ways that we can’t even imagine.
Based on the specs and the marketing material they’ve put out, it looks great. But, one of the things that I think people may complain about could be the weight. When traveling, you have to watch the weight of your luggage or you’ll need to pay extra. Now that this suitcase includes electric motors and batteries, you really need to watch the weight now as well. There has been talk that some airlines may put a weight limit on carry-on luggage, not just check-in luggage.
The other concern is the batteries used in the luggage. Just last night, a Jet Blue flight had to make an emergency landing because a passenger’s laptop batteries caught on fire. While the batteries do abide by FAA regulations in terms of size and whatnot, so does all laptop and tablet batteries. But battery issues still happen on flights unfortunately.
Travelmate Robotics plan to start delivering in June, 2017, to Indiegogo backers. A month after that, they will start delivering to those who pre-ordered and then for general retail. Prices start at $399. It will be interesting to see what people think of this once they get their hands on it.
Head over to Travelmate Robotics to learn more