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A robotic suitcase which drives after its owner autonomously will begin appearing in airports and train stations soon, despite security fears. Travelmate cases are linked to an app on smartphones which records the location of their owner so they can follow them without the need to be dragged or carried.
“Traveling is about to get a whole lot easier,” Travelmate Robotics founder, David Near, told the Telegraph. “Travelmate isn’t just a normal suitcase. It’s an autonomous companion that follows you wherever you go and makes traveling much easier”.
A GPS chip helps orient the suitcase and allows you to know the location of the suitcase with a smartphone application. The GPS chip can be reomeved and used for other suitcases.
The device can also be attached to non-robotic cases to also drag them along with it. And it has an optional camera so that travellers can record their journey, or even let the case patrol their home when they are away, like a robotic security guard.
The Travelmate suitcase features unique omni wheels that allow for unprecedented multi-directional movement. This is crucial for autonomous technology. Since the suitcase functions as a in practice, it uses AI and machine learning to optimize its movements and omni wheels allow for markedly increased stability and range of motion that cannot be achieved otherwise, according to the company’s website.
The suitcase’s battery can be removed and is charged with wireless technology. The battery can be used to charge almost all electronics through a USB port and a standard electrical outlet.
The electric motor and internal components that enable autonomous functionality take up almost no space in the suitcase, accounting for less than 5% of the suitcase’s volume.
All Travelmate models will include a built in scale that will accurately measure the weight of your suitcase’s contents. You’ll never have to worry about over packing because Travelmate will conveniently display the suitcase’s weight. You can switch between Kilograms or Pounds via the Travelmate application.
However, there are fears that the cases could pose a security risk or cause chaos in busy airports. The company said it had done its best to make the cases as secure as possible. If somebody was to take the case it would sense that it was no longer near its owner and lock its wheels to prevent it from being moved. It would also sound an alarm.
Heathrow Airport said it would be monitoring the situation closely, while the Department for Transport said the luggage would be subject to the same security measures at all times and people would be expected to keep their case close to them or face it being removed.