What is that luggage that follows you?
Is smart luggage a thing — I remember that kickstarter once about a bag that follows you?
Yes! The bag that follows you through the airport is actually a thing, OVIS is the name of the original manufacturer but there are now additional options.
It was actually originally hosted on indiegogo, and no, it’s not just another crowd-funded venture that got a lot of interest and raised money but never produced the goods!
As of February 2020, All OVIS (barring a limited edition blue colour) were delivered to US customers — with Europe and the rest of the world to follow. Unfortunately COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works, but from 2021 onward OVIS aim to fill all of their initial orders worldwide!
Buying OVIS smart luggage
Where to buy OVIS and how much does it cost?
- Having branched out from their original crowdfunding onIndiegogo, OVIS are now a fully fledged company.
- You can view their products on the official OVIS website
- Luggage that follows you doesn’t come cheap — in fact it’s probably the most costly smart luggage feature on the market.
- Available in 6 colours, the OVIS bag itself retails at just over $600 (roughly £500).
How does smart luggage that follows you work?
Cheaper smart luggage that follows you
There are numerous technologies involved in getting smart suitcases to follow you around. The simplest and cheapest version used in many remote following suitcases is using bluetooth and a remote — either a physical remote or using your smartphone as the remote.
Technically, the luggage isn’t following you — it’s following your smartphone!
OVIS smart luggage that follows you
OVIS have approached it in a slightly different way, and their smart case actually uses a wealth of incredibly complex artificial intelligence and an HD camera.
The company actually started as an artificial intelligence company called ForwardX — now a very successful AI company in their own right.
OVIS is a sister company, using the ForwardX AI tech to help the suitcase avoid obstacles and follow you.
Recognition and detection algorithms are used, with the OVIS smart case following you by tracking your movement. For this reason, the case will only follow you on your right-hand side — either immediately at your side or slightly behind you.
For its self-propulsion the OVIS case has a 13-mile (20 km) range. It manoeuvres itself using the rear wheels at up to 4.5mph — more than a brisk walk for those last-minute airport dashes!
Are there any alternatives to OVIS Smart luggage?
Yes. Following the media hype surrounding the original luggage that follows you, other manufacturers have begun to add this feature.
Two similar models are:
Another smart suitcase that follows you, Airwheel’s SR5 also has similar features to the OVIS. These include an alarm if the case falls too far behind, and the ability to weigh itself.
Travelmate Robotics is another company that started via crowd funding. Their suitcase that follows you is closer to a robot than traditional smart luggage.
Similar to OVIS — Travelmate robotics case is heavily reliant on artificial intelligence rather than following a remote.
Both alternative suitcases are priced at the upper end of the smart luggage market, between $600 — $1000 at the time of writing.
This is also a good time to mention the pitfalls of buying smart luggage cases without properly conducting your research— especially at this higher end of the market. If it seems too good to be true it probably is.
Due to their desirability, there have been numerous cases of fraud involving smart luggage that follows you. One example, Naucrates, even being advertised in well-known publication 9to5mac before later being exposed as a scam.
All the counterfeit self-following luggage scams seem to rely upon advertising their model at “early bird introductory prices” — well below the $600 + baseline that the genuine cases currently cost.
OVIS smart luggage regulations
How would the suitcase that follows you stack up with modern regulations?
In 2018 OVIS claimed that their smart bag would be all airline friendly — quite a bold claim for a product that didn’t exist, in an emerging market.
Despite wandering around beside you, there aren’t any current additional restrictions placed on this style of robotic smart luggage, or on the operation of it publicly.
In theory, it isn’t any different to normal smart luggage (interlink). Batteries are removable, so they can stay with the case for carry on luggage — but if checking it in you need to remove the battery beforehand.