Luggage Startup Hopes Travelers Race to Buy Motoroized Suitcase

July 25, 2016
Jared Kaltwasser

A new startup has created a motorized suitcase, which can whisk travelers through airports at speeds three times faster than walking.

Anyone who travels frequently has likely had the experience of running to catch a flight or get from one gate to another.

If a new company has its way, you won’t have to run anymore. You can drive.

A company called Modobag has developed what it’s billing as “the world’s first motorized, rideable carry-on smart luggage.” You read that right. It’s a carry-on bag that is equipped with wheels, a small motor, and handlebars for steering.

With a top speed of 8 miles per hour, the company says riding the bag is three times faster than walking. The bag comes with a battery that lasts for six miles or can charge your phone 10 times.

Will travelers actually want to use such a device? Apparently, yes. The company is funding its launch through crowdfunding. And while an earlier Kickstarter campaign fell short of its goal, the current campaign on Indiegogo was at 89% of its $50,000 fundraising goal a day after the campaign went live.

The bag is the brainchild of Kevin O’Donnell and Boyd Bruner, two entrepreneurs from Chicago. Bruner is also the winner of the 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing Daytona 200.

"We created Modobag to revolutionize the way people travel and introduce one of the biggest updates to carry-on luggage since rolling suitcases were launched in the 1970s," said O'Donnell, the company’s CEO, in a press release.

A limited number of customers who pre-order the bag can get it for $995, a 30% discount off what will be the retail price, the company said. Though the price is higher than most luggage, it also comes with a feature that allows users to locate their bag using GPS, a tool that could come in handy if an airline loses your bag.

While the bag quickly became a hit on social media. There are some drawbacks. For one, the bag weighs in at 19 pounds. That might not be bad considering it contains a motor. However, it constitutes nearly half of the weight limit most US airlines allow for a carry-on bag.

It’s also unclear whether travelers will even be allowed to use the bags. The company says its bag is approved by the Transportation Security Administration. However, when so-called “Hoverboards” became a popular item last year, airlines quickly banned the devices over fears their lithium ion batteries could start onboard fires.

So far, no major airline has commented on Modobags.