When you’re trying to navigate a twisting airport terminal at breakneck speed, suitcases tend to be a bit of a liability. The handles are never quite long enough, the wheels are always getting caught on something and they take away a free hand that could be better served holding a grande skinny latte.
Well, now you can have your cake and eat it, too.
Introducing The Cowarobot Suitcase
Earlier this summer, news of the Modobag arrived — the world’s first motorized suitcase that weary travelers could ride around from terminal to terminal like a go-kart. But now, Shanghai-based robotics company Cowarobot has taken luggage innovation to a whole new level by creating a bag that actually follows you around like a faithful puppy.
At first glance, the Cowarobot R1 looks like a pretty standard suitcase. It’s 20 inches tall, has a capacity of 33 liters and comes in a decent range of colors. It’s got a handsome aluminum frame and boasts a 100 percent polycarbonate exterior. Yet unlike your standard travel case, the R1 is also fitted with some pretty advanced computer technology.
The suitcase boasts a range of hi-tech sensors, including sonar, depth-sensing cameras, light sensors and a GPS chip in order to autonomously navigate various terrains. And with the help of an accompanying wristband, the R1 utilizes those sensors to keep pace with its owners while simultaneously working to avoid potential road blocks and collisions.
The R1’s wristband is fitted with a wide band radio module that enables the suitcase to track its owner and roll along at speeds of up to 4.5 miles per hour relative to that person’s movements. The wristband also acts as a key to the suitcase’s smart lock, and will vibrate if you accidentally leave it behind.
But even if you do leave your R1 behind, it can easily find its way home again.
Cowarobot is already set to roll out a companion app for Android and iOS devices that will allow users to track and summon their suitcases with the mere swipe of a finger. With the power of GPS, the R1 can then roll along on its own accord in order to link back up with its owner. It’s also worth mentioning the suitcase can travel up to 12.5 miles on its own on a single charge, and so it can quite literally travel across town to find you.
Being fitted with all of that fancy-sounding technology, you’d think the R1 would end up more robot than suitcase — but all of the electronics only account for around four percent of its overall volume. Cowarobot’s designers have also given a bit of thought to security checkpoints by ensuring the case’s USB battery is easily removable.
Just like its pseudo-competitor Modobag, the Cowarobot R1 is currently available for purchase on Indiegogo. But at an introductory offer of just $499, the R1 is currently only about half the price of Modobag. Cowarobot is offering a one-year product warranty for the suitcase, and plans to start shipping by November 2016.
Image: Cowa Robot