Skip to content

Would You Buy This Suitcase That Follows You Around?

July 28, 2018
3 min read
Would You Buy This Suitcase That Follows You Around?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Sick and tired of dragging your luggage behind you, or hauling around a cumbersome duffel?

ForwardX Robotics recently debuted their Ovis smart carry-on, which uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to recognize its owner, and follow him or her around (at a leisurely speed of up to 6.2 miles per hour).

“Originally, I was inspired by a robotics competition and realized that we could build a personal robot like R2-D2,” ForwardX Robotics CEO, Nicolas Chee, told The Points Guy.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

“We decided to build the technology for an intelligent rolling robot [that] customers could get access to immediately in the form of a self-driving suitcase,” Chee said.

Unlike other smart suitcases that promise to follow their owners (yes, there are multiple) Ovis can analyze its owner’s face and specific dimensions — as well as the surrounding environment — so it knows precisely who to follow, even in crowded airports.

Ovis (in Latin, that means sheep) can follow behind you and right alongside you: no wristband or remote control required. A ForwardX spokesperson claimed that while other prototypes have touted similar tracking capabilities, Ovis is the first suitcase of its kind to go to market with truly autonomous side-follow functionality.

During two separate demos in New York City, the TPG team got to play with the straight-out-of-sci-fi suitcase. The results? It's still a bit finicky.

The current prototype sometimes struggles to keep up and has a habit of zipping off in the wrong direction. On more than one occasion, it also bumped clumsily into the person it was supposed to be following.

If the Forward X Robotics team is able to keep Ovis from getting confused, it could be a smart solution for travelers who struggle with carrying heavy bags through the airport, or parents with young kids who want their hands free. And I suspect my father, who loves new technology even when it's more gimmick than marvel (sorry, Dad) would get a kick out of Ovis, too.

Ovis has plenty of other useful features, including a GPS tracker and weight sensor — important, considering it weighs just shy of 10 pounds empty. And despite the recent fall of major smart bag makers, Ovis is doubling down with its FAA-approved lithium-ion battery. Removable, of course.

If having a suitcase that follows you around sounds way more cool than creepy, it's available for pre-order from Indiegogo for $399. It's not expected to ship out until December 2018, however, so the Forward X team still has time to improve the technology and get Ovis airport-ready.