There are few things that can ruin a vacation like throwing out a shoulder while carrying your (or your significant other’s) luggage through airports or dragging it from cars to rooms or cabins. Wouldn’t it be nice to have robotic luggage that did the job for you? Good news … there’s one that will be available soon and it won’t hold out its handle for a tip.
NUA Robotics, an Israeli startup based in Jerusalem, unveiled a prototype for a suitcase that follows its owner around at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This bag has more bells and whistles than you can actually pack in the bag. While there’s not much information on the mechanics of the parts driving the wheels, everything else is the latest and greatest in electronics and communications.
Your trip with a robotic bag starts in your hand with a smartphone app that allows the owner to give the luggage instructions and allows the bag to track its owner and follow it around hands-free. The bag earns its keep by keeping track of its own weight – an important feature as the cost of checked baggage fees keeps going up. The luggage also has a camera and proximity-detection devices for maneuvering around and an anti-theft alarm that will notify its owner of its abduction and location – make sure you don’t pack the phone.
Size-wise, it appears to be small enough to place in the overhead bins on an airplane. There’s no info on weight other than the fact that the smart parts weigh 2.5 pounds and could eventually be modified to attach to other non-smart bags.
When not transporting underwear for its owner, the robot luggage can charge electronic devices and entertain small children and bored travelers. With those hoverboards being banned by airlines (for good reasons), the robotic baggage could someday be the perfect way to ride around the airport.
NUA Robotics hopes to have a consumer model available within a year and is already working on using the same technology to direct hands-free shopping carts around a grocery store.
Hackers could make a fortune selling apps that send shopping carts with screaming kids to the other side of the store.