We have now reached a point where we are no longer discussing smartphones or smart cars or smart appliances, but also, smart luggage. According to China Daily, CowaRobot, a startup company based in the Chinese province of Anhui, has unleashed a robotic suitcase, which, like a loyal pet, promises to follow its owner around.
Built of aluminum, this US$699, artificial intelligence-enabled smart suitcase is controlled through a smartphone app. The app allow users to perform tasks such as controlling smart locks, recording and sharing the movement of their luggage, and monitoring the status of the suitcase in case it gets lost or stolen.
Further, coming in at 4.5 kilograms, this smart suitcase is able to go up inclines as steep as 15 degrees, according to the company.
While its steep price tag may be a deterrent for many people, this product would benefit not only absent-minded people who routinely forget or misplace things, but also, customers who carry around expensive or sensitive and top-secret materials. Thus, we could see an immediate use in governments and militaries around the world, not to mention among the wealthy, as well as disabled people who are not able to carry their luggage around by themselves.
However, in spite of the fact that this smart suitcase would provide benefits to its users, since it is controlled through software, the issue of bugs or defects should be discussed. Further, what happens if the smartphone that is used to control the suitcase is lost or stolen? Also, would this open up avenues for unscrupulous hackers to cause damage by taking control of the app and hence, the luggage?
All these issues and more should be discussed further, I believe, before this technology becomes more widespread. But for the moment, I do like the technology that the CowaRobot smart suitcase is introducing and do believe it is a worthwhile product to release to the world, even though it is on the expensive side.