Consumer Electronic Show 2018 showcased a lot of products but one product seemed to be dealing with the weighty problem of baggage for travellers.
California-based startup Travelmate introduced the “robot suitcase” at CES 2018 which could be controlled with a smartphone app and can roll alongside its owner. The company included some of the technologies used in autonomous cars in the device, which can speed up to 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) per hour, navigating around obstacles.
“This is really a robot which follows you around,” said Travelmate founder and president Maximillian Kovtun.
Elements of artificial intelligence are integrated into the device which enables it to roll at a pace that matches that of the user. Travelmate designed the device in such a way that it can be directed through the smartphone app similar to that of a drone.
The device is priced at around $1,100, and it will be rolled out in February for the US market, and later in Europe and Japan.
A similar product is introduced by a Chinese startup named ForwardX which has offices in California. The company has designed the device with facial recognition and doesn’t require a smartphone application.
“It uses computer vision and a driving algorithm to have a clear path,” said founder Nicholas Chee, who showed a prototype at CES. Furthermore, the ForwardX suitcase contains gesture control technology and can be immobilized to protect against theft.
Chee also said that the device is expected to be launched in mid-2018 at a price under $1,000. Both Travelmate and ForwardX claim that their devices meet the terms of US safety regulations since their lithium-ion batteries, which are banned in checked luggage, can be removed.
Similarly, another auto-following suitcase from China-based 90FUN was showcased at CES which was already available in the Chinese market will make its way to American market very soon. The device has self-balancing technology from the personal transport maker Segway.