Until recently, the biggest technical innovation in luggage was the wheel. Now, though, bag makers are teaming up with tech firms to make smart bags that will streamline the travel process and make lost luggage a thing of the past. Samsung and Samsonite, plus other vendors, are adding features that mean bags do more than just hide your dirty laundry from prying eyes.
No More Bag Check-In Line
You won't have to stand in line to check in your bags with the new smart luggage. Because of a chip inside, these bags will know when they've arrived at the airport and talk to airline systems automatically. You'll get a unique baggage ID sent to your phone. Just drop the bag on a conveyor belt. With some bags, you'll avoid overweight bag fees because the bags have a built-in scale and it'll tell you before you leave home if you've packed too much.
No More Dragging Your Luggage
Human traffic patterns in an airport concourse can seem more chaotic than highway traffic patterns, so self-propelling luggage may be as difficult as a self-driving car, but it's coming. A motor in the bag will let luggage trail close by your heels as you walk through the terminal. Don't worry about forgetting to keep it with you, because a proximity detector will alert you if you walk off without it. It's too bad bags won't self-propel themselves into the overhead storage bins, though!
No More Hanging Around the Luggage Carousel
If you've ever raced through the terminal only to wait interminably for your bag, you can now take your time. Bags will send a message to your phone when they've made it off the plane and head for the carousel. Once everyone uses this feature, you won't need to fight through the crowd to get close enough to grab your bag. If everyone has a self-propelling bag, it's possible the luggage carousels will be eliminated and your bag will find its own way over to you.
No More Lost Luggage
Worse than an interminable wait in baggage claim is an interminable wait that ends when you realize your luggage isn't going to come. If your bag doesn't show up, the new smart bags can tell you where they are, so you don't have to wait for the airline to track it down.