Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Not to be outdone…the COWAROBOT R1.

Well, yesterday I wrote about the Modobag, which vehicular-izes the carryon bag.It left me wondering just what other ideas there might be floating out there on Indiegogo, looking for crowd funding. I got no further than another luggage start up.

Its product isn’t aimed at those who want to do drive-bys while perched on their suitcases, but rather for those too burdened by having to pull their roller bag behind them. I give you the COWAROBOT R1.

And I give them something, too. Props for an excellent tagline: Make Travel Less of a Drag.

Other than that.

There are a lot of things about traveling that really are a drag. The TSA lines. The cramped seats. And, soon enough, having to dodge lazy-arse travelers careening around on Modobags. But seriously, folks, just how much of a drag is it to have to drag your bag behind you. Non-wheelie bags, now there was a traveling drag. Wheeled bags? Not so much.

But I guess now that all the manufacturing jobs are about to be roboticized out of existence – and ditto for household tasks – the industry has to start on those areas that may not seem quite so pressing.

So there you have it:

COWAROBOT R1 is a fully autonomous smart suitcase, that follows its users while avoiding any obstacles in its path. We have merged upcoming technology with the suitcase in hopes that our new invention can allow people to travel more conveniently. We also hope it can solve common travel problems such as not having hands free, losing their luggage, devices running low on battery, and laptops being hard to take out during security​ checkpoints. (Source: Indiegogo)

Hands free? Admittedly, that can be a problem when you’re trying to get your passport and boarding pass out, but generally by the time you have to get your passport and boarding pass out, you’re standing stock still in a security line or at the gate desk.

Losing your luggage? Obviously, the old fashioned luggage tag doesn’t help you find your lost bag. It just lets someone who finds it figure out that its yours. (On the plus side, if you get fluorescent luggage tags, and throw a couple on your bag, it’s a lot easier to distinguish your black bag from everyone else’s.) But I don’t think you need to have an autonomous driving bag to have a GPS chip embedded in your bag.

Devices running low on battery? This seems to be an emerging need. (Like the location technology, it’s also part of Mondobag.) And I get it. I’ve been at the airport jockeying for an outlet. That can be an authentic drag. But there are charging devices coming on the market that don’t necessarily have to be part of an overall robotic trick-out. In fact, a few weeks ago, I had to get a dressy clutch to clutch at a dressy wedding. I found one for cheap at TJ Maxx, and it came with a skinny little battery pack that could be used to charge an iPhone. (Supposedly, it could also charge an Android, but I couldn’t figure out how.)

Laptops being hard to take out? Annoying, indeed. But jeez louise. Being able to more convenient access your laptop: one small feature, but not exactly a great leap forward.

There’s also an override if you want to go old school and drag the suitcase behind you the old fashioned way.

I really don’t get the point, and am certainly not looking forward to someone riding on a Modobag crashes into an autonomous bag, trailing some guy who needs hand free so he can play Pokemon Go and sip on a latte.

Anyway, the COWAROBOT starts shipping in October, and if you want to get 40% off the MSRP -  yep, just like their second cousins once removed, the car, autonomous luggage also has an MSRP – you can sign up on Indiegogo and one can be yours for the low, low price of $429. They come in black, silver, pink, and blue. Have at it.

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