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This $800 Robot Suitcase Will Never Leave Your Side

SmarterTravel

We’ve all heard of emotional support animals, but what about an emotional support suitcase? This new robot suitcase from ForwardX, a Chinese robotics company, will never abandon you. It’s the world’s first suitcase that uses artificial intelligence to track your location and roll itself alongside you as you walk, leaving your hands free to multi-task.

We’ve reviewed plenty of smart suitcases, but this one is definitely at the top of the class. The Ovis uses an “obstacle-avoidance algorithm” to analyze the environment, figure out where you are, and avoid potential obstacles. It also comes with a wristband that will vibrate to alert you when the distance between your suitcase exceeds six feet. It also includes many other features we’ve seen on smart luggage in the past such as GPS tracking, a (removable) battery pack for charging your phone, and a weight sensor that links up to the app.

The Robot Suitcase Is Cool, But Is It Necessary?

robot suitcase
ForwardX

 At a price point higher than what most people pay to fly across the country and back, my first impression was that this robot suitcase seems a little excessive for the casual traveler. It brings to mind the image of the globe-trotting business traveler too busy checking email to roll his own luggage. However, on second thought, a hands-free suitcase would also make a huge difference for disabled travelers or anyone traveling with small children. It’s kind of cool and a little bit creepy, but overall it has the ability to make traveling through the airport a whole lot easier.

What About the Smart Luggage Ban?

According to the ForwardX website, the suitcase’s battery will be removable at the press of a button. This meets the IATA standard for carry-ons, which requires that lithium ion batteries “must be able to be removed from the bag so that the passengers can carry the spare lithium battery / power bank into the cabin.” You can read more about the ban and learn which brands you can can’t fly with here.

So Where Do I Buy a Robot Suitcase?

 The Ovis is not yet available, but before it hits the market at the $800 price point, ForwardX is offering a great deal on its IndieGoGo page in order to raise funds; the suitcase is currently available for as little as $350.

Editors’ Note: This story has been updated to address concerns about the Ovis’ battery in regard to a ban on smart luggage with irremovable batteries.

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Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.

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