Checking in luggage for a flight is an exercise steeped in uncertainty. There are so many unknown variables: how long the check-in line will be, whether or not your bag is overweight, when it will show up on the carousel upon arrival, if it's even made it to your destination.
According to the Daily Mail, Samsung and Samsonite are working together to create a line of microchip-enabled smart luggage that removes some of the uncertainty from the process. Using GPS, the bags will track their own location and send updates to travelers via their smartphones. Practically, this means you'll known when a bag has been lost and also when it is about to be deposited onto the carousel (meaning you don't have to stand in the crush of people that always collects around the carousel chute).
As a defense against absent mindedness, the 'smart' bags will be able to alert travelers when they've wandered more than a few feet away.
No word yet on when the luggage will be available, but when it does launch, location-tracking will likely be just one of multiple 'smart' features.
"Smart luggage will be able to communicate with you but it needs to be able to do much more than just give its location," Samsonite's chief executive Ramesh Tainwala told the Mail. "We are working with Samsung to create something that is more than a gimmick."
Although it sounds more than a little gimmicky at this stage, Samsonite is apparently considering the idea of making engine equipped suitcases that can propel themselves around the airport. “This is a utopia we are working towards but we are not quite there yet,” Tainwala told the Mail. “It's a blue sky idea where the bag will follow you six inches behind. It's a bit like a programmable remote control car."
There are bigger possible implications at play here, however. A bag equipped with microchips would be able to communicate its weight and destination to the airline, eliminating the need for it to be manually checked-in. There is already some interest from airlines. "Emirates and Lufthansa are working on this," Tainwala said. "There is no reason why luggage can't get connected. If you can communicate with your bag then why not the airlines?"