Motorized AI-packin' suitcase keeps its eyes on its owner
If you travel a lot, it's possible that you may get tired of dragging your suitcase around. Wouldn't things be easier if it could just follow along beside you? Well, according to Beijing-based startup ForwardX Robotics, that's just what its motorized Ovis suitcase is able to do.
Among other things, the Ovis is equipped with two brushless electric motors (one driving each rear wheel), multiple video cameras, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip running artificial intelligence-based computer vision algorithms.
This combo reportedly allows it to visually track its user, and stay at their right-hand side as they stride through the airport or down the street at speeds of up to 10 km/h (6 mph). It's also claimed to be capable of identifying obstacles such as other people, automatically steering itself around them.
If users wish, they can take manual control of the Ovis at any time and pull it along like a normal suitcase, simply by grabbing its handle. This can also be done if its removable 96-Wh lithium-ion battery runs out.
That battery can be charged in under four hours, and should be good for about 20 km (12 miles) of use – an accompanying iOS/Android app warns the user when the charge level is down to 20 percent. Additionally, the battery can be used to charge the user's mobile devices via two USB ports built into the suitcase.
Should the user get separated from the Ovis by more than 2 meters (6.6 ft), a Bluetooth-linked SmartBand on their wrist will notify them. And if the suitcase is outright lost or stolen, the app can be used to track it via an attached GPS tag.
Oh yes, and the Ovis can also carry clothes – 45 liters worth of them. The suitcase itself weighs a little under 4.5 kg (9.9 lb). It's currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, with a pledge of US$329 getting you an Ovis by December if it reaches production. The planned retail price is $799.
You can see it in action, in the following video.