Air travel is already stressful enough without having to trek long distances through what are essentially giant coach stations while dragging a bag on wheels behind you. There have been a number of attempts to relieve this situation in recent years with foldable scooters and bags that can follow its owner's smartphone, but Olive ups the ante by combining the two with full-on robotics.
Olive is the brainchild of Iran-based Ikap Robotics, and although it may look like a standard piece of luggage, it has a Segway-like, self-balancing auto-locomotion system that maintains stability while riding on two wheels by using 3D accelerometers and gyroscopes. With an in-built stereoscopic camera, it can build up a visual map of its surroundings and follow its owner using skeleton tracker algorithms that is claimed to allow Olive to distinguish individuals even in crowded environments.
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Billed as the world's first intelligent suitcase, Olive can provide reminders, tell its owner to hurry if time is short, and has a built-in scale to warn about excess weight. If the gate is a bit far, a pair of foot rests fold out and Olive becomes a two-wheel balancing Segway-like vehicles that can carry its owner at a walking pace to the destination. Once there, the robot's battery can charge portable devices.
According to Ikap, Olive connects with its owner's smartphone or other devices using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth via an app that allows for full control. The app can locate the bag wherever it is using GPS and 3G/4G technology, and it has an automatic lock/unlock mechanism in case it's left unattended as well as provide alarms if it's disturbed. The lock also works with NFC technology, so keys are redundant.
Ikap Robotics took out first place in the Service Robotics section of the 2016 Automatica Start-up World Competition held in Munich last month and the company says it is currently seeking investment and collaboration to further develop and manufacture Olive. We tried to contact the makers regarding the current state of development of Olive, its estimated price and potential availability, and will update this story if we hear back.
The video below shows Olive strutting its stuff.Source: Ikap Robotics