The bag that tags along, you might call it. The maker of the bag that tags along? Flush with cash. News came Monday (June 4) that ForwardX Robotics has raised $10 million, with an eye on bringing the Ovis suitcase to the masses. The suitcase itself is known as autonomous luggage — as it follows its owner.
ForwardX is based in Beijing, and has marketing efforts based in San Jose, California. A financing round was led by CDH Fund, according to VentureBeat, with participation from Eastern Bell Venture Capital.
According to the report, the company’s luggage sells for $399, and can follow its owner at speeds up to 6.2 miles per hour. The luggage will roll (literally) off assembly lines by the end of the year.
The details of the suitcase itself: The luggage clocks in at slightly less than 10 pounds, and is made from carbon fiber and polypropylene, with computer vision as the conduit by which the luggage “follows” its owner. Battery life is four hours. VentureBeat also noted that the Ovis is not yet adept at handling escalators and must be shifted into manual mode — meaning the owner must tote the luggage along with a bit of muscle.
The tech behind the luggage is the Robot Operating System (ROS), which houses a GPS tied to apps on iOS and Android smartphones.
In an interview, ForwardX COO Yaxin Guan told VentureBeat that the luggage can maneuver to sidestep obstacles using “the same strategy as you do and, once it passes an obstacle, it will come back to your side.”
The luggage is not the only tech the firm will be, well, unpacking. According to the site, the company “is also exploring” a number of other initiatives, including mobile machines that will speed last-mile deliveries. The firm is also looking into, and is in talks with, firms like JD.com to build robots that can lift items up to 100 kg, and which can work in a factory setting, according to the COO.