Luggage manufacturers are racing to enter the emerging “smart bag” market, but one of the challenges they face is how much technology to pack into the meager suitcase.
Startups like Bluesmart are redefining luggage with a suite of smart features, while established luggage brands, including Tumi and Samsonite, are dipping their toes in the smart market by licensing GPS tracking devices to insert in their suitcases.
A Chinese company just upped the smart bag game. Cowarobot, introduced today at CES Asia, is the first robot carry-on. The bag uses robotics technology and sensors embedded inside to follow its owner around like a puppy.
The owner of the bag wears a wristband tracker that Cowarobot can locate and follow at a distance up to 50 meters (or 164 feet, about half the length of a football field). To start and stop autonomous mode, just push a button hidden in the handle of the bag. According to the Cowarobot website, the bag detects and avoids obstacles as it follows you.
The wristband also acts as a key. When placed near the bag, it opens Cowarobot with a simple turn of the large LED-lit button on the bag’s side. The innovate keyless entry system is even TSA compliant. Cowarobot includes other smart features, such as a removable battery and four USB ports to charge your phone and other electronic devices.
Cowarobot bags will be available in June 2016. At $650, they’re far more expensive than other carry-on bags with smart features, though it’s currently offering pre-orders for $399 with a $50 down payment.