Trips to the airport often mean pulling out cumbersome and clunky luggage that you’ll be forced to wrestle with from curb to gate. But not if you have the Cowa Robot R1 suitcase.
Described as a “fully autonomous smart suitcase,” the Cowa Robot brings the Internet of Things to travel. The robotic suitcase can roll next to you – hands-free. Or at least it allows you to attend to other tasks, whether it’s carrying a toddler or sipping a Starbucks cappuccino.
A Concourse Cyborg
The Cowa Robot is being built by a team in Shanghai and works through the use of patented sensors that rely on sonar and depth detection. Those mechanical detectors help the Cowa Robot weave through congested concourses and avoid other obstacles as it sticks by your side.
To operate the Cowa Robot, the owner wears a watch-like device, called an R1 bracelet. When activated, it acts as a homing beacon, keeping the suitcase at arm’s length. If the luggage lags behind, it notifies you through the R1 bracelet so you can go back to retrieve it.
Designed as a carryon, the suitcase weighs 10 lbs. before packing. It’s designed with a slick front compartment, so you can easily access laptops and other items typically removed during security screenings.
While the Cowa Robot can’t maneuver stairs, it can manage ramps, as long as they’re angled at 15 degrees or less. The suitcase also covers a good amount of ground. Fully charged, it roams about 12 miles at a speed of about 4.5 mph. The average walking pace is 3.1 mph, so it can easily keep up!
Unfortunately, the Cowa Robot has been plagued with delays. Originally, the traveling droid was slated to roll out by the end of 2016. That date was moved to Q1 2017. When Dryve got in touch with a company rep, they apologized to their backers for the delays and estimated they’d being shipping soon.
“It all comes down to our overestimated expectation,” they wrote. “We have to constantly adjust and redefine some tiny parts so as to demonstrate the best performance. Inventing some new things is a process of discovering problems and solving it.”
In the meantime, its predecessor, the Cowa Robot S1, is available for purchase. The S1 doesn’t have robotics built into it, but it does incorporate smart features, such as a charging port for your electronics and an app that lets you track the bag and operate the bag’s locks.
While the S1 doesn’t quite deliver the “wow” factor of the coming R1, it does provide an instant upgrade to your next trip.
Comments & thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted on 6/20/2017