Imagine traveling and never losing another piece of luggage. Nirvana? Yes, especially for all those road warriors who spend more time on trains and planes than in their own beds and who suffer the frustration of losing a bag that may potentially house a critical piece of clothing, work document or health-related prescription once they arrive at their destination.
Samsonite, one of the top luggage makers, is aiming to ensure that such events never, ever happen again and is developing what it is calling "smart" luggage with the help of electronics maker Samsung.
The idea is to tap a well-known proven technology, the global positioning system (GPS), and a computer chip to keep track of luggage from the moment it leaves your hands at the check-in desk to the moment it reaches the same airport or train station that its owner arrives at.
That's the goal of the Samsonite-Samsung collaboration taking place. Samsonite is building Samsung GPS-enabled chips into suitcases, similar to how they are built into smartphones, fish finders, and even wearable clothing at this point.
Luggage owners will be able to determine via an app exactly where their luggage is and where it may be if it doesn't arrive where it should. The system may also even message users when a luggage piece has gone awry, ending up somewhere it shouldn't be.
"We are working with Samsung to create something that is more than a gimmick. The Smart luggage will be able to communicate with you but it needs to be able to do much more than just give its location," stated Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala.
Not only will the GPS chip technology help luggage owners identify location, but it could even help spur faster airport and travel check-in and also prevent non-authorized tampering. That could help reduce airport check-in lines and prevent theft and loss payouts for airlines and train systems.
There's even the thought of having luggage propel itself using remote-controlled motors built into the luggage pieces. No more lugging and tugging and pulling hefty suitcases through long, seemingly never-ending airport terminal corridors.
"This is a utopia we are working toward but we are not quite there yet," said Tainwala.