The Future of Travel: A Self-Driving…Suitcase?
Self-driving cars are no longer novel, but this is—the self-driving suitcase! You read right. Introduced by Travelmate at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, this could be the next big thing in the jet-setting world.
Travelmate’s self-driving suitcase can be controlled with a smartphone app and will roll alongside its owner at speeds of up to 11 kph (6.8 mph) while navigating around obstacles. It is priced at around US$1,100 and is slated to roll out in February for the US market, and later in Europe and Japan.
“This is really a robot which follows you around,” said Travelmate Founder and President, Maximillian Kovtun.
Another competitor, ForwardX, which is a Chinese startup, seems to have done one better as its product does not need a smartphone app. Instead, the suitcase uses facial recognition to follow the user.
“It uses computer vision and a driving algorithm to have a clear path,” said founder Nicholas Chee, who showed a prototype at CES. Slated to be launched mid this year, it will retail under US$1,000.
Both companies says that their products comply with US safety regulations because their lithium-ion batteries, banned in checked luggage, can be removed.
With everything seemingly geared towards autonomous mobility, what else could be made autonomous in the future? The world of technology is exciting indeed.
The CES is a yearly pilgrimage for those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. New ideas, concepts, prototypes are proudly displayed by their inventors, hoping to jump on a wave of opportunity.