Technology is changing OUR LIVES, especially the way we travel.
Here are a few things you can expect to see more of in 2018 and beyond!
1. Travel Bots:
Autonomous kiosks are being introduced in airports across the world, take SITA's robotic kiosk KATE for example. This kiosk uses geo-location to maneuver through more crowded areas of an airport, thus easing wait times and giving passengers more opportunities to check in without having to stand in a long line. SITA expects nearly 29% of all airports to have this technology by 2020.
2. Botlr - Robot Butler:
Ever heard of Relay (also known as Botlr), a robotic butler from California company Savioke? This is one of the most futuristic high-tech examples of robot usage throughout the travel industry. Relay is in more than 70 hotels around the world, most notably in Henn-na hotel in Tokyo which is nearly 100% robotic (including front desk check-in). It can ride the elevator by itself, deliver room service and more.
Similarly, Aethon is introducing TUG mobile robots in January 2018 at the Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel Hotel. TUG is capable of showing guests around the hotel, carrying luggage and bringing food trays, toiletries and linen to any room.
3. Travelmate Robotics:
Travelmate's robotic suitcase pairs to your phone and follows you via sensor. It can avoid obstacles, opens with your fingerprint, has a USB port and a built in scale for you to weigh the bag yourself. Travelmate can even carry the rest of your luggage because it rolls horizontally as well as vertically. Best part: it comes in S, M & L.
CAUTION: many airlines are beginning to regulate smart luggage usage due to safety concerns. American Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to require passengers to remove the lithium ion battery in order to check their smart luggage (effective January 15th, 2018). The battery can stay inside only as a carry-on bag, but must be powered off.
TAKEAWAY: You may want to wait a couple months until more policies are put into place and smart luggage companies have time to alter the technology. As of now, most smart bags have non-removable batteries.
4. COUP :
Known as "the Uber of electric bikes”, this new eScooter service (which began in Berlin) is changing the way we commute around cities. Nearly 1,000 electric bikes were launched in Berlin in 2016 and the service just opened in Paris this year. Using COUP is easy and environmentally friendly, and at just 3 euros per 30 minutes it's also cost effective.
You've no-doubt heard about this exciting new form of transportation concocted by Tesla CEO & Founder Elon Musk. Hyperloop One is aiming to have operational systems by 2021: "the vehicle floats above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. Hyperloop One systems will be built on columns or tunneled below ground to avoid dangerous grade crossings and wildlife. It’s fully autonomous and enclosed, eliminating pilot error and weather hazards. It’s safe and clean, with no direct carbon emissions." Use their route estimator to check how much time you would save between destinations!
6. AIRLANDER 10:
I'm putting this here just for your knowledge in case you haven't heard of the part-plane, part-blimp largest aircraft in the world by manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV). But be warned, it has had a number of mishaps including a crash after it's second flight and an accident as recent as November, 2017. The ship can stay airborne up to five days, and could become the future of cargo delivery due to it's size, quietness and low emissions. Still in it's early days, although HAV is already working on the AIRLANDER 50.