Connected Objects
Travelmate robotic suitcase follows wherever you go while traveling

Frequent problems that travelers face, especially while on their own, include not having enough hands to carry everything and suitcases hitting other travelers’ legs while being wheeled around. And then there’s the universal problem all travelers face when trying to figure out how much a valise weighs to avoid airline charges.

Travelmate is a robotic suitcase that responds to the user’s gestures and will follow him or her around without being carried or pulled, making traveling easier. The autonomous robot companion is also smart enough to avoid any obstacles in its way thanks to its Follow Me system’s built-in sensors that detect and avoid obstacles including people and furniture. Its GPS chip helps orient the suitcase and allows users to know the location of the suitcase at all times, in conjunction with a companion app for unspecified mobile devices. Travelmate uses artificial learning and machine learning to optimize its movements, while its omni wheels allow for increased stability and range of motion.

Travelmate also has a touch-enabled lock system that scans the user’s fingerprint to open the suitcase, while a built-in scale that will accurately measure the weight of a suitcase’s contents. It touts a battery life of four hours when in full autonomous mode and up to 100 hours in stand-by mode when it’s used just like a normal suitcase. Multi- colored LED lighting is featured on all Travelmate models and informs the user of the suitcase’s battery level.

Travelmate ships in June at future pricing of $449 for the carry-on sized Travelmate S (21.7 inches x 7.9 inches x 15.7 inches), $545 for the medium-sized Travelmate M (27.2 inches x 11.4 inches x 19.3 inches) and $645 for the Travelmate L that’s designed for longer trips (29.5 inches x 12.2 inches x 20.5 inches). But Indiegogo backers can order each one for $50 less during its campaign that ends Oct. 26. Its makers hope to raise $100,000.

Many travelers may find Travelmate useful. It’s not the first smart suitcase, following products that include Bluesmart One. But Travelmate offers a few features that at least some rivals don’t, including a mount allowing users to attach cameras, including virtual reality-ready models, to the suitcase. It also features a handle that turns into a portable desk to be used for laptops and books, among other things.

Jeff Berman is a Long Island-based freelance reporter, who has also contributed stories to publications including TheStreet and the consumer electronics magazines Dealerscope and TWICE. He previously worked as a senior editor and deputy managing editor of the trade newsletter Consumer Electronics Daily, published by Warren Communications News.