AI brings robot suitcase to make travelling easier and simpler for visually-impaired people. This is going to be a joint venture of five Japanese companies excelling in Artificial Intelligence, haptic technology, navigation, automotive technology and image recognition.
This robotic suitcase will track the user’s location and guide them to the safest route to their destination. Using navigation tools the user’s location is detected. Haptic technology is enabled in the suitcase’s handle to decode the vibrations transmitted. Simultaneously, the voice commander guides the traveller through the way.
Reading the footage from video cameras and sensors installed at intervals, the suitcase identifies and avoids any object in the path of the traveller. The suitcase further guides the traveller regarding which department to go next, whether there is a queue to be joined, shops on the way, etc.
This idea of an AI-enabled robot suitcase is of Chieko Asakawa, a computer scientist at IBM Japan who is herself blind. She was stuck with this idea of installing sensors in suitcase while facing trouble in carrying her suitcase on a business trip.
Chieko Asakawa said, “It’s impossible for visually impaired individuals to walk around town alone freely and safely, I want to make that possible.”
Each of the five companies has its own sector to concentrate in building this suitcase- IBM Japan: Artificial Intelligence, Omron: sensors and image recognition, Alps Alpine: haptic technology, Mitsubishi: automotive technology, and Shimizu: navigation system.
They plan to run an experimental pilot in a Tokyo’s commercial complex, in June 2020 to find out its accuracy. Next, they will be testing in airports and other indoor spaces before upgrading it for outdoor travel. These experimental pilots will be open to public.