Smart bags are the hottest trend in the luggage industry since spinner wheels. Manufacturers from small startups raising capital on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to luggage industry titans like Samsonite are developing smart bags. In the near future, all new pieces of luggage will contain smart technology.
But what exactly are smart bags? While some of the bells and whistles differ as manufacturers race to differentiate themselves in the market, smart bags typically contain technology that links them to a smartphone app. This enables the bags’ owners to locate them and often track their bags throughout the entire travel journey. Many smart bags also contain internal scales, USB ports, removable batteries, and other innovative features.
Here’s a complete list of smart bags in development, along with the dates they are expected to be available for travelers. This list will be updated frequently.
Background: Founded in 2013, Bluesmart is one of the pioneers in the smart baggage sector. The company got its start by raising more $2 million in contributions on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever for a travel product at the time.
Smart Features: Bluesmart’s first product, the Bluesmart Carry-on, offers a number of innovative features, including GPS tracking, two USB charging ports, distance alerts that notify if you leave the bag behind, digital locking controlled from your smartphone, automatic locking when you step away from the bag, built-in scale, and a TSA-friendly laptop compartment. The bag itself is made of lightweight polycarbonate, and the blue-trimmed wheels are a nice touch.
Availability: The Bluesmart Carry-on was released to the market in August 2015 and sells for $399.
Manufacturer Website: bluesmart.com
Background: Not content with just adding technological tricks, the creators of Trunkster made another innovative change: They did away with zippers. Trunkster contains a sliding rolltop opening that replaces zippers and provides instant access to everything in the bag in one swift motion. To put Trunkster into production, its creators raised more than $1 million on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
Smart Features: In addition to its zipperless entry, Trunkster contains built-in digital scale, removable battery with two integrated USB ports. A GPS tracking device powered by LugLoc can be added as an upgrade.
Availability: Trunkster is available for preorder and is expected to be begin delivery in June 2016.
Manufacturer Website: trunkster.co
Background: It’s no surprise that the largest names in luggage are developing smart bags. Samsonite announced in early 2015 that it was working on a line of smart bags called GeoTrakR that would contain built-in technology from LugLoc, a company that produces luggage tracking devices. Samsonite says the GeoTrakR collection will include four sizes, ranging from 19” to 29” that will be priced from $280 to $400.
Smart Features: GeoTrakR bags contain a removable tracking device produced by LugLoc, USB port to charge your smartphone, and a Bluetooth connection.
Availability: Though GeoTrakR suitcases have already shown up on retail sites like Amazon.com, the bags don’t appear to be available yet.
Manufacturer Website: samsonite.com
Background: French luggage manufacturer Delsey is also preparing to enter the smart bag market. It revealed a prototype for its smart bag, called Pluggage, in January 2015.
Smart Features: Pluggage links to a companion smartphone app that will provide flight information and tell you when your suitcase has boarded the plane. The prototype contains a number of interesting features, though it’s unclear if they will all be included in the finished product. These include: built-in scale, charger, interior lighting, fingerprint unlocking, location tracking, and an interior speaker.
Availability: Delsey hasn’t announced when Pluggage will be available.
Manufacturer Website: delseypluggage.com
Rimowa Electronic Tag
Background: In 2013, German high-end baggage manufacturer Rimowa teamed up with aircraft manufacturer Airbus to develop a prototype smart bag called Bag2Go. Bag2Go evolved into the Rimowa Electronic Tag, a digital luggage tag that’s built into select Rimowa bags and coordinates with the airline’s baggage handling system to ensure it gets routed properly.
Smart Features: Unknown. The Bag2Go prototype contained a built-in scale and GPS tracking.
Availability: It’s unclear if “select Rimowa bags” containing the Rimowa Electronic Tag are available for purchase yet. At this time, they can only be used on Lufthansa airline. Rimowa’s website suggests that the bags are being tested with United.
Manufacturer Website: rimowa-electronictag.com
Background: One of the newest entries on the smart baggage scene is Raden, and unlike many of these other products that had long development periods, its bags became available to purchase on the day of launch. Raden offers a 22-inch carry-on and a 28-inch check-in suitcase in a slick, streamlined design and a wide variety of solid colors.
Smart Features: Raden bags contain a built-in scale, two USB ports and a removable battery, and proximity sensors that use Bluetooth technology. Unlike other smart bags, they don’t appear to contain GPS tracking.
Availability: Raden suitcases are available to purchase now. The carry-on bag costs $295, while the checked bag is priced at $395. Together, the set sells for $595.
Manufacturer Website: raden.com
Space Case 1
Background: Space Case 1 is another smart bag that got off the ground thanks to crowdfunding from Kickstarter. Its developer, Planet Traveler, has produced other innovative suitcases, such as a biometric locking suitcase, and launched the Space Case project in June 2015. The Space Case 1 line offers two models: a 21-inch carry-on and a 29-inch check-in.
Smart Features: Space Case 1 offers global GPS tracking, biometric fingerprint locking, digital scale, two USB ports and internal battery, Bluetooth speaker for calls and music, and proximity sensors that alert you when your baggage arrives or leaves the area.
Availability: Space Case 1 bags are available to pre-order now, starting at $429 for the carry-on and $479 for the check-in. The set starts at $869. Delivery is estimated to begin in July 2016.
Manufacturer Website: planettravelerusa.com
Background: Two formers employees of Warby Parker, the innovative eyewear designer, launched Away in 2015 with the goal of creating affordable smart bags.
Smart Features: The Away Carry-on contains two USB ports and a removable battery, but no other smart features. Without linking to your smartphone, it’s not technically a smart bag, but I’ve included it here anyway.
Availability: The Away Carry-On is available now in four colors for $225.
Manufacturer Website: awaytravel.com
Background: Another smart bag concept unveiled via crowdfunding, Andiamo iQ has not met as much success. It’s Indiegogo campaign raised about half of its goal and was closed in December 2015. The iQ bag does not appear anywhere on Andiama’s company website, so presumably the luggage manufacturer has abandoned the concept.
Smart Features: On Indiegogo, Andiamo said the iQ smart bag would contain a built-in scale, removable battery pack and USB ports for charging, proximity alerts, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Availability: It seems unlikely that the Andiamo iQ will be produced.
Manufacturer Website: andiamoluggage.com
Background: Just unveiled at CES Asia 2016, Cowarobot takes smart luggage to another level. This bag, developed by a robotics startup, follows its owner like a puppy.
Smart Features: Cowarobot comes with a tracking bracelet worn by its owner that enables the bag to autonomously follow you. It also includes battery charger and keyless lock that opens via the wristband tracker.
Availability: The makers of Cowarobot say it will be available June 2016. At $650, it has a hefty price tag, but that seems expected for a robot suitcase.
Manufacturer Website: cowarobot.com