It wasn't until 1970 that Bernard Sadow came up with an excellent idea to put wheels on a bag and patent it as "rolling luggage". In 1987, a Northwest Airlines pilot and hobbyist tinkerer named Robert Plath created the classic Rollaboard, the classic two-wheeled “carry-on” form factor most of us are familiar with today.
Now comes ForwardX Robotics, as it provides a required solution to an issue only few of us knew we had: specifically, to drag a bag around from place to place.
As per the firm, 10 pounds, GPS and 3G-empowered Ovis carry-on priced at $799 (MSRP) is a completely independent suitcase that uses a self-driving algorithm and AI to follow you around using gestures and voice commands. So what exactly is this modish technology that led to the discovery of such fancy luggage carrier that follows its owner?
Its "side follow" functionality is driven by a mix of visual simultaneous localization and mapping also abbreviated as "VSLAM" and uses computer vision algorithms to manage its engine and steer the gadget along the owner's path.
One of the most advanced smart suitcase providers, Bluesmart had had to shut down and sell all of its assets due to the ban of luggage with non-removable batteries.
However, this suitcase is compliant with TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and other air safety regulatory requirements since it comes with a removable battery and an approved locking mechanism system.
The Beijing-headquartered company on May 29, 2018 formally announced a $10 million Series A round co-led by CDH Venture and Eastern Bell Venture Capital. Prior to this funding, the company had raised $1 million in an angel round closed back in December 2016. The company’s total venture funding of $11 million USD is again in the process of expansion as the company has also launched a pre-order campaign to further finance its initial production.
ForwardX Robotics will make a better use of its funding to further drive three key R&D initiatives:
1. to develop its computer vision and self-driving technology;
2. to expand operations in China and at its recently opened office at San Jose; and
3. to provide support to its other consumer products and warehouse self-driving vehicles initiatives.
Ovis carry-on could be an amusing entry into the market that is not going to be forgotten anytime soon and also a step forward for ForwardX Robotics towards building a broader portfolio of autonomous vehicles.