When it comes to travel, mankind has come a long way over the past 100 years. We’ve gone from an age of horses and buggies to automobiles, jet airplanes and maglev trains. But despite how fast and efficiently our new vehicles move, the burden of luggage, for the most part, has remained unchanged. After all, no matter how many handles, straps or wheels you put on it, it’s still fundamentally the same thing: Dead weight.
Unless, of course, you put a motor in it. British luxury bag-maker LiveLuggage has done just that with its unique power-assisted (PA) suitcase – a long overdue update on the suitcase that coaxes it into doing the work for you.
If you’re the type of technophobe who’s already envisioning a runaway motorized suitcase careening through an airport with a frantic owner not far behind, think again. One of the most radical aspects of the LiveLuggage PA suitcase’s design is its intuitive (and foolproof) control system. Rather than some sort of complex steering mechanism to move it forward, travelers can merely pull on it like an ordinary piece of luggage, and it automatically follows. It senses the load with sensors located within the handle and fires up the two motorized wheels, supposedly creating the illusion that you’re pulling nothing at all.
Image Courtesy of LiveLuggage
The suitcase draws it power from an internal rechargeable battery – the same nickel-metal hydride type you might find powering a modern radio-controlled car. Squirreled away safely within, the pack adds some significant heft to the suitcase, but its designers have made up for it by using lightweight ABS plastic in the rest of the suitcase’s construction, bringing its overall weight to 24 pounds. That may sound like a lot for an empty suitcase, but remember that it brings its own muscle to the job.
As you might expect, the PA suitcase will need to plug into the wall for a bit with its specialized adapter to juice up before a big trip. But once on the go, its creators claim it should be good for about two hours of usage, or a full 1 ¾ miles. And if that terrain includes downhills, the suitcase will not only shut down its motors to conserve energy, it will recharge it with the same type of regenerative braking system found in hybrid cars.
In terms of storage capacity, the case’s dimensions, minus the space taken by the drive module, give it 94 liters (or 5,736 cubic inches) of usable cargo area. A standard piece of 31-inch hard luggage, about the biggest you can buy, offers roughly 7,400 cubic inches, making the PA suitcase mid-sized by modern standards. That means you’ll have to pack efficiently for a long trip, especially since the unusually high empty weight will cut into the 50 pound-limit for checked baggage on most airlines.
Because automatic luggage might naturally make a hot target for thieves in airports and other busy places, LiveLuggage skipped using zippers and instead uses lockable hard latches to hold the plastic shell closed. The three-digit tumbler lock used to seal it up can be set to a custom access number quickly, and it’s approved by the Travel Safety Administration to remain locked during transport, since TSA skeleton keys can pop it open for security checks.
There’s no doubt that the PA-series luggage offer features that are truly one-of-a-kind right now, and the price reflects that. Just one suitcase will set you back $1,365.25. That’s quite a princely sum, considering that even Samsonite’s priciest designer suitcases only run up to about $500. However, for petite jet-setters who lack the brawn do their own heavy lifting in the airport, or would just prefer not to, there’s no question it could pay off in alleviated aggravation over time. More information can be found at LiveLuggage.