This suitcase can run away with your luggage

Luggage can be a hassle to haul around the airport and to your destination. At CES this year, some innovative solutions to this problem have been proposed.

In particular, a Chinese startup called 90Fun aims to robotize the suitcase, bringing forth a self-driving suitcase that can follow its owner around. Utilising technology borrowed from Segway, the suitcase leans forward to drive and follow its owner like a puppy, hence the name 90Fun Puppy1.

90Fun promises positioning accuracy up to 10 centimetres, the ability to climb slopes up to 30 degrees, a fingerprint lock and carbon fiber material for the shell. The suitcase’s internal capacity is around 30 liters, and it can travel up to 15 km with a top speed of 18 km/h – although 90Fun suggests a more reasonable usage figure would be around 5 km/h. The suitcase follows its owner using a sensor that the owner keeps with them. Of course, if it runs out of battery, the suitcase can be used normally with a handle on top.

The downside of the Puppy1 is its weight – most weight limits for carry-on luggage are up to 10 kg and the production model of the Puppy1 is set to be around 4kg unloaded, so it may be difficult to replace checked luggage entirely with the new robot.

Other issues are also present – the self-balancing technology might still be a way off as during a demo, the suitcase repeatedly fell over, although in a somewhat endearing way. The prototype model also has no obstacle avoidance technology and is prone to losing its owner and running away. We’ve all heard of people running away with someone else’s luggage, but never before has the luggage run away by itself.

Hopefully 90Fun can smooth out these kinks, but as of now the Puppy1 is simply a cool concept. The Puppy1 is planned for launch in the second half of 2018 but local availability and pricing is yet to be announced.

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