The days of you dragging your luggage through airport terminals may soon be over. We got a taste of the travel tech of the future by trying the auto-follow robotic carry-on bag by Chinese company ForwardX.
"I can bring a Starbucks [in one hand] and use my cell phone [in the other hand], and I don’t even have to look to my luggage," founder of the company Qiou told Circa.
Codenamed the CX-1, the bag uses four-wheel drive to zip around and a combination of face recognition and a smart tracking band to know whom to follow. It also has obstacle avoidance not unlike a self-driving car, and responds to gesture controls.
The smarts for the suitcase are provided by a small circuit board, a battery – about as big as "a normal battery pack" – and a camera for tracking.
The production model will wind up weighing about the same as a regular piece of luggage, the company says.
During our demo, the CX-1 prototype followed a little slower than you’d probably like – and sometimes didn’t follow at all.
But ForwardX says it’s still working out some kinks and promises faster speeds with more reliable tracking.
"I think that will be a rabbit," Qiou explained. "It'll be [7 mph], more friendly and easier to use."
The robot suitcase is planned for a mid-2018 at a yet-to-be-determined price.