In a modern twist on luggage convenience, students Yuqiang Ge and Yiyang Zhao have developed a proof-of-concept robotic platform for their ECE5730 final project. The small wheeled robot is designed to autonomously follow a user by locking onto an infrared beacon carried by the person. The robot’s infrared sensors detect the signal from the beacon, and it uses this information to rotate and steer towards the source. To enhance stability, a pair of sensors is employed, strategically separated to create a “blind” spot, allowing the robot to determine the relative signal strength and adjust its movement accordingly. Additionally, the device features an ultrasonic range sensor to prevent collisions by stopping when it gets too close to the user.
While the concept is innovative and demonstrates effective functionality in a controlled environment, such as a university corridor, the practicality of this autonomous luggage-following system in crowded and dynamic settings like airports remains a consideration. The project not only showcases the students’ engineering skills but also reflects a broader trend, as similar concepts have already been commercialized, emphasizing the potential for such technology to enhance travel convenience and efficiency. You can find a kit extremely similar to this project in our store!