Would You Buy an $800 Robotic Suitcase That Follows You Around?

In the last two years, we’ve seen the sharp rise of smart luggage — ultra-modern suitcases with built-in gadgetry like Bluetooth, GPS locators, external battery packs, and integrated smartphone apps. However, one company is taking the next step toward luggage that’s so smart, it knows how and where to follow you autonomously. The question is: Do travelers even want that?

On paper, there’s a lot to like about the Ovis AI-powered Suitcase from California-based ForwardX Robotics. It’s TSA-approved and accepted as carry-on by all major airlines (so far). Under the hood, Ovis relies on computer vision to track the user’s face and body, even if the user momentarily disappears from sight. Once locked on to its owner, it “side-follows” like a puppy without any manual effort at a maximum speed of up to 6.2 miles per hour. It’s been tested in crowded environments, including city streets and outside airports, and ForwardX confirms that it works exactly as expected.

Unfortunately, the removable battery is only good for four hours of use, and it’s so far unable to climb stairs or ride escalators. So, if you’re staring down long layovers in larger international airports, you may spend considerable time just looking for outlets to recharge the suitcase along the way.

Like most other smart luggage, Ovis connects to your smartphone via a mobile app. Built-in GPS tech allows the owner to track the bag in case it strays a bit too far for their liking. The 9.9-pound carbon fiber and polypropylene shell is also waterproof and surprisingly lightweight given all the inner-workings required to guide and move the device.

There’s no shortage of gimmicks in the luggage world. We’ve previously covered Modobag (the “scooter luggage you can ride”) and even a $20,000 bulletproof attaché case. Some would argue that so-called smart luggage is just a way to charge a premium for high-tech features that can be individually bolted on to your baggage for far less. Given that many major airlines have banned smart luggage to the point of putting some manufacturers out of business, it seems the niche industry is getting no love from anyone.

Regardless, ForwardX says the project is on track to ship in late 2018. Many crowdfunders have heard such optimistic predictions before, only to wind up disappointed, waiting months — even years — passed the promised ship date. However, Ovis captured serious attention at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2018 and the company has already raised $10 million in financing.

The Ovis AI-powered Suitcase is available for pre-sale orders through Indiegogo. The bag is expected to retail for $799, but early bird crowdfunders can score their own for $329.

Travel

Leave Winter for Warmth and Wellness at Hawaii’s Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Hawaii's Westin Hapuna Beach Resort's wellness program has the cure for what ails you.
Living

The Best Mattresses for Side-Sleepers Who Need Support

Do you sleep on your side? You may need a mattress designed with you in mind.
Culture

10 Excellent Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Men

Whether you are looking for an intimate gift for your special guy or a great gift for dad, we've got you covered.
Culture

A Beginner’s Guide to the 6 Most Common Types of Cigars

Even if you're not a cigar aficionado, you should know enough to know what you like.
Travel

Escape to the Arctic Circle at Finland’s Snowman World Glass Resort

Witness the Northern Lights while Santa's reindeer prance outside your bedroom window.
Food & Drink

Heading to Hawaii? Make Your Reservations at Manta Restaurant to Eat Big Island Beef

How can cattle raised in Hawaii stand-up to beef carefully coddled for years in Japan, Australia, and the mainland U.S.? Pretty damn easily, that's how.
Living

Detroit’s Shinola Hotel Has Us Feeling Right At Home

With stylish guest suites and a social “living room,” the Shinola Hotel honors the Motor City’s past while looking to a bright future.
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet?
Outdoors

4 of the Most Dangerous Hikes in the World

You'll need a healthy dose of fear and a desire to push your self to the edge — just not over it.
Travel

‘App in the Air’ Could Help Travelers Survive the Next Government Shutdown

It's like an airport survival kit in your pocket. It will be handy long after the government shutdown ends (again).
Travel

The Palms Casino’s Newest High-Roller Suites Have a Bowling Alley and Whiskey Room

The Hardwood Suite is a basketball-centric masterpiece, while the Kingpin suite is a bowling bro's paradise.
Travel

Celebrate Your Single-ness This Valentine’s Day with a Cheap Vacation

Contiki is looking to make solo celebrations even better with deeply discounted travel packages for Singles Awareness Day.
Travel

Win a Private Island Getaway for You and 7 of Your Closest Friends

Bring the entire squad on an ultra-luxe Belizean getaway worthy of a one-percenter.