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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

From flying Ubers to robotic luggage: 5 of this year's best travel tech solutions

Upgrade your next holiday with the travel technologies revealed at CES 2019

Crowds at the 51st edition of the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas where robots did much of the talking. Courtesy CES
Crowds at the 51st edition of the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas where robots did much of the talking. Courtesy CES

On Friday, CES 2019 — the world's biggest tech trade show — wrapped up its 51st annual programme at the Las Vegas Convention Centre, having welcomed over 180,000 visitors. This year, Google stole the show with its very own theme-park ride and robot butlers wandered the halls beside smarter-than-ever technologies and innovations. Among these were a plethora of future tech solutions that look set to shape the trips we take in the very near future.

Auto-following luggage

Hate dragging your bag through the airport? By the end of January that is set to be a thing of the past for customers purchasing the first AI-powered suitcase by Chinese vehicle tech company Cowarobot. The bag uses obstacle-avoidance technology to prevent it from crashing in to things and sends a Bluetooth message to a registered smartphone if it finds itself more than two metres away from its owner. The Rover Speed travel robot is airline-approved and comes in a choice of two colours — phantom black or racing red. It’s packed with sensors, a camera and retractable wheels that allow it to keep up with you over different terrain and at various speeds. It’s also got USB ports nestled under the handle so you can easily charge your other technology on the go and gives you the option to switch off the smart features if you prefer to roll the old fashioned way. It’s currently retailing on Amazon in the US for Dh4,628.

Flying Ubers

Uber’s flying car project came whizzing back into vision at CES 2019 when partner company Bell revealed a scale model of its flying taxi design. Called Nexus, it’s the first full scale vertical-take-off-and-landing model to be revealed as part of Uber’s Elevate plan that looks to introduce shared flying taxis between cities and in suburbs by 2023. Kanye West was among one of thousands of visitors taking a tour of Nexus at CES 2019 last week. Combining urban air mobility with unique in-flight experiences, the prototype sees Uber’s plans move one step closer to its launch plan which is set to happen in Dallas, Los Angeles and another as-yet-to-be-named location. The transportation company’s internal teams are currently working closely with Nasa to develop unmanned traffic systems that will help Uber regulate driving in the skies.

Voice-activated check-in

Google users can now check-in for flights simply by saying ‘Hey Google, check me in for my fight to X’. The technology company used CES 2019 to showcase the latest advancements for its Google Assistant tool. The technology is currently limited to domestic US flights with United Airlines, it’s set to be rolled out to other airlines and destinations in the near future. Google also introduced its Interpreter Mode, a tool that allows users to instantly translate from English to a dozen other languages and vice versa simply by saying ‘Hey Google, be my French interpreter.'

Seeing the future

If safari is your thing, you might think you know all there is to know about binoculars. But that’s all about to change with the Double Take digital binoculars by NexOtpic. Powered by a dual Blade Optics lens system, these field glasses allow you to view points on the horizon at 2x and 10x zoom on a display that looks more like a smartphone. Instead of lifting the lenses to your eyes like traditional binoculars, the smart gadget lets you take in the magnified view through a 5-inch screen that’s packed with detail. As well as not affecting on your wider field of vision, the screen also lets letting more than one person look at what’s happening at one time. You can even capture screenshots of what you’re seeing in the distance, meaning your Instagram game is going to get a whole lot stronger. Ideal for all weathers, they are shatterproof and waterproof and come with image stabilisation, real-time high resolution panning and video capture technology. Currently in prototype stage, the binoculars will be on sale by the third quarter of this year

Double Take digital binoculars by NexOptic could change the way you see things. Courtesy NexOptic
Double Take digital binoculars by NexOptic could change the way you see things. Courtesy NexOptic

Solar-generated travel

Staying connected while you adventure has been getting easier in recent years as the solar-powered platform continues to evolve and with the launch of Nomad 5 by Goal Zero, al fresco charging gets easier again. Highly portable but extremely durable, the 5-watt solar power bank weighs less than a pound and can directly charge your phone, laptop or mobile using energy harnessed directly from the sun. It also has a built-in kickstand so that you can angle the Nomad to catch the suns rays while your phone remains safely in its shade. Set to hit the market in May, the Nomad 5 is predicted to retail at around Dh250 making powering up when you’re camping, hiking or road-tripping easier than ever.

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Updated: January 13, 2019 04:48 PM

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