Traveling with luggage can be both a worry and a chore as suitcases can get lost or put onto the wrong flight, and choosing your own case from the hundreds on the carousel can feel like a game after a long journey. Thankfully, a partnership between two companies may help to make traveling with luggage easier as they equip them with the same technology used in smartphones.
Samsung and Samsonite have collaborated to work on new luggage projects that will help to locate our suitcases. The companies are working on inserting a small GPS chip into luggage that will allow it to track and send its location. This would be helpful for checking your bag is on the same flight as you, as well as letting you know where in the airport it is. The bag may also be programmed to send information to your phone when specific events occur, such as if it has been opened. This would require Bluetooth or further technology but in theory could be achievable with a well designed smartphone app.
In addition to luggage that can let you know where it is, Samsung and Samsonite are also working on a suitcase that can check itself in. This would use a chip containing information about the passenger as well as details about their flight such as the airline they’re traveling on and the destination of the flight. Instead of queueing and waiting to check their bags in, passengers would be able to drop their bags off at a carousel allowing the bag to be weighed and chip to be read. Information about the bag and its status would then be sent as notifications and identification tags to the travelers smartphone. Samsonite is already working with airlines such as Emirates, KLM Air France and Lufthansa on remote luggage check in.
While not yet in production, the two companies are also working on ideas for bags that contain motors and can follow you around the airport. The bags will be able to follow six inches behind you, controlled by a remote. Current prototypes use a large engine that doesn’t leave much room for luggage and weighs 20 kilos, which isn’t very practical for current weight restrictions. However, technology such as music speakers have decreased in size while their power has increased, so luggage that rolls with you still may be a viable idea for the future.
Other smart bags currently in testing phases include the crowdfunded Bluesmart bag which managed to raise over $2 million in funds and the Barracuda carry- on. The Blesmart suitcase has a built-in GPS tracker, a smartphone controlled remote lock and is even able to weigh itself. The Bluesmart case is able to calculate its own weight when the user holds it off the ground at arms length as it measures the tension between the handle and the rest of the bag using a sensor. In addition, it can act as a smartphone and device charger so you can plug your gadgets straight into your bag if you can’t find a wall socket or forget to take a plug adapter on holiday.
The Barracuda is another smart bag project after your money and has already exceeded its Kickstarter goal. The bag is a fully-collapsible hardside carry-on that featured a USB charger, GPS tracker and a built-in tray. Models containing location trackers and proximity sensors are also in the pipeline to be created. Both the Bluesmart bag and Barracuda will cost around $250 when they go on sale, so it will be interesting to see how much Samsung and Samsonite charge for their collaborative bags.
With travelers becoming ever more technology focussed and with QR codes and modern features like electronic check in featuring more heavily at airports, it makes sense that people will want to know where there bags are headed and where they’ve been. While self-rolling cases may not be heading for production yet, built-in gadgets such as smartphone enabled luggage locks are definitely options that will go down well with travelers. Soon we may find that every part of our case is convenient, connected and designed to help us fly with ease.