Gone are the days of wheel-less rucksacks and old school duffel bags. Today’s smart luggage — with Bluetooth technology, GPS tracking, and backup battery stations — is all the rage. But, Travelmate Robotics is taking the idea a step further with the world’s first fully autonomous robotic luggage line.
We’ve previously covered bleeding edge smart luggage and even rideable scooter luggage designed to get you to your gate as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Travelmate’s suitcase combines the best features of both into a single product. Its biggest selling point is its mobile app integration which includes a Follow Me feature. The system uses advanced AI technology (similar to that found in Starship Technologies’ food delivery robots) to track and follow its owner like a dog. Large Omni wheels and tiny, multi-directional pivot wheels allow it to traverse almost any terrain (at up to 6.75 mph), stop on a dime, and turn 360 degrees as necessary. Built-in sensors detect and avoid obstacles such as furniture, walls, and people while the integrated circuitry is smart enough to optimize the suitcase’s movements to work through crowds seamlessly.
Travelmate works in horizontal or vertical modes. The company promises the electric motor is totally silent, yet powerful enough to push other suitcases for you in vertical mode or carry them in horizontal mode. The included smartphone app provides for additional customization, like enabling auditory cues or changing the LED lighting scheme. A magnetic locking system is tied to your fingerprint for bulletproof security. The heavy duty battery pack is good for up to four hours of live use or 100 hours in standby mode (i.e. when pulled like an ordinary suitcase). The pack is also removable and can be charged wirelessly or used as a backup for other mobile devices via two standard USB ports. Surprisingly, all the required tech to make the Travelmate tick occupies less than 5% of the total interior volume.
We have to agree that it sounds like another overhyped, but ultimately under-delivered concept. But, as of January 2017, the project received more than 1600% of its anticipated funding on Indiegogo. What’s more: the videos look promising indeed.
The suitcase is currently available for pre-order in small ($399), medium ($495), and large ($595) from Indiegogo. Expected to ship June 2017.