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article imageSmart luggage firms lose battery fight

By Tim Sandle     May 18, 2018 in Technology
Two smart luggage companies have closed down this month, citing the changes to airline policies which affect how lithium batteries can be taken on-board aeroplanes.
Despite smart luggage being regarded by many technology commentators as the next big thing for business travelers, with idea ranging from motorized cases that follow the owner around to luggage fitted with global positioning system devices, this aspect of smart technology has been hampered by safety concerns. A number of smart luggage innovations are featured in the Digital Journal article "Smart luggage innovations for business travelers."
The two companies affected are Raden and Bluesmart. The innovators have stated that the changes, which were adopted by several major airlines in December 2017, had made their business model impossible. as reported by Digital Journal (see "Major airlines set to ban ‘smart luggage"), the International Air Transport Association recommended a ban be extended to all forms of ‘smart’ luggage. Included here were bags and cases that feature technologies such as location tracking, integrated scales (for automated weighing baggage weighing); and robotic power storage functions, used for recharging portable devices or to assist motorized suitcases that follow the owner around.
The new rules require luggage batteries to be removable. According to The Verge, Raden said in a message: "...our intent was to add ease and simplicity to your travel experience and this unforeseen policy change has made this impossible." Bluesmart has stated that it has sold its intellectual property to U.S. suitcase brand Travelpro.
Speaking with the BBC, technology analyst Ben Wood (CCS Insight), told the news outlet the new rules had created confusion for customers at check-in, meaning passengers were unsure whether they would be able to travel with their bags or not.
More about smart luggage, Batteries, Travel, Safety
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