What are the technologies that enable smart luggage?

Have you ever been in a situation where you arrive at your destination after a long flight only to find that your luggage is missing? Often this is due to the airline misprinting the routing label, but it could also be because you left it behind while browsing the shops at duty free, or because it was stolen.

Whatever the reason, it’s usually very unpleasant and stressful to find out that your luggage is missing – you might have to wait days for your luggage to be found (if lost by the airline) and you could be left with just the clothes you’re wearing.

Luckily, advances in technology now allow you to track your luggage and know where it is at any time. Here are a few instances when having smart luggage could be incredibly convenient:

  • Smart luggage is here for you when you need a USB charger and mobile hotspot while waiting to board your flight
  • Most smart bags have GPS tracking systems, meaning that once you arrived at a destination you receive a notification that your bags have arrived with you
  • Some even have the ability to notify you via text while waiting at the luggage carousel that your bag is near you
  • Should the worst happen, and you’re separated from your belongings, you might be able to show the airline exactly where your bags have ended up thanks to the tracking sensors embedded in your bag

Sounds like something coming from a futuristic film, right? The reality is that many companies are already offering their own interpretations of smart luggage, which are gaining popularity among consumers. Here’s a list of the technologies that enable these features.

IoT

Checking luggage onto a flight can create a great deal of anxiety for travelers if you keep wondering whether your suitcase will arrive with you. The IoT can reduce this stress. IoT sensors can be attached to a luggage and passengers can then monitor the location of their bag through a mobile phone application as the bag makes its way along the airport conveyor belts and onto the plane or onto the luggage claim carousel. Geolocation will not only make it harder to lose your luggage, but it will also assist remote bag drop-off at places like train stations and hotels before you even get to the airport.

AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications at airports will be able to recognise unique scuff marks, creases, and material characteristics to distinguish between seemingly identical bags and match them to the correct passenger. Meanwhile, AI-assisted computer vision will continually scan boarding gate areas and intelligently predict capacity issues for hand luggage on flights.

AI could also ensure that your luggage stays within your reach. For example, Beijing-based company ForwardX have created a smart suitcase that is designed to follow you around airports and avoid collisions. It uses a series of sensors that allow it to stay by the side of its owner while avoiding potential collisions with obstacles or other travellers. The sensors work using AI to ensure the suitcase stays within reach of its owner. What’s more, the suitcase comes with a smart wristband that vibrates when your luggage is more than two meters away from you.

Biometrics

Apart from unlocking your smartphone, you can now use your fingerprint to unlock your luggage too! A few brands have added fingerprint locks to their suitcases, offering you a piece of mind that no one will be able to open your suitcase unless you’re around. Planet Traveller was one of the first companies in this field to launch a smart suitcase with a biometric fingerprint lock for up to five travellers, meaning that five people from your household or close circle could register their fingerprint to use the suitcase!

Hopefully, very soon we’ll all be able to travel again and when this happens, smart luggage can ensure a peace of mind that our personal belongings are safe.

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