Automated suitcases certainly seem to be a rising trend, with Travelmate’s efforts leading the way. Now, Airwheel has launched its own contribution to the robotic suitcase market, launching the R3, a decent-sized case that follows you around and can even recognise its owner.
The suitcase features auto follow, hooking up to your smartphone via Bluetooth, intelligent obstacle avoidance using integrated sensors (not quite as sophisticated as those found in driverless cars), a removable battery to address security concerns of taking a battery onboard a flight, an alarm if it’s lost or stolen and a remote control if your phone runs out of battery.
Its ultrasonic receiver and GPS maps the area it’s navigating around, plotting obstacles and other challenging conditions that may prevent it being able to follow its owner effectively. It plots its route in advance, ensuring it isn’t held up by objects that may stand in its way.
One of the more exciting features is a camera that can recognise its owner’s face, only unlocking if they’re present, for example. If the suitcase (or owner) strays more than three metres away, an alarm will sound and the owner’s phone will start ringing and vibrating to alert them their precious luggage is no longer following.
The battery can also be used to charge other items, such as mobile phones, with an additional USB port for hooking it up to external devices.