Self-driving cars may take a while to arrive, but the self-driving suitcase is here now. Some of the technologies used in autonomous cars have been adapted in products unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, to help travelers with the weighty problem of dealing with baggage.
The 'robot suitcase' from California-based startup Travelmate can be controlled with a smartphone app and can roll alongside its owner at speeds up to 11kph, navigating around obstacles.
Travelmate designed the device – which integrates elements of artificial intelligence – to roll at a pace that matches that of the user, or it can be directed with the smartphone app in the same manner as a drone.
It uses computer vision and a driving algorithm to have a clear path," said founder Nicholas Chee, who showed a prototype at CES. The ForwardX suitcase also has gesture control technology and can be immobilized to protect against theft. Chee said he expects the launch in mid-2018 at a price under $1,000. Both Travelmate and ForwardX say their devices comply with US safety regulations because their lithium-ion batteries, banned in checked luggage, can be removed.