Research insights were obtained from individuals in the following organisations.
How can we reimagine the transportation of our belongings in a world where luggage travels separately from its owner?
Trends in luggage free
“The key to mass adoption is door to door, pick it up in London and drop it off in New Jersey”
When being separated from your luggage is a good thing - New York Times
Remote baggage check-in gaining in popularity across the globe. AirportTechnology.com
Proven to reduce lines and congestion at ticket counters.
Average price of services“All signs seem to point that passengers' desire for convenience and airports' need for extra capacity could eventually do away with the standard, assisted bag drop-off desks - and instead bring that service to your door.”
International Airport Review. (2018).
Services providing luggage free travel are growing rapidly in numbers. Although all these services come in various levels of convenience ranging from (1) Which is simply a self-check-in service at the airport terminal all the way to (4) which is a direct door-to-door service fully detaching luggage from travellers. The closer the service operates towards the travellers home, the more costly it is. Affecting mass adoption of such a convenience. With baggage fees rising and increasing environmental pressures on the aviation industry, alternative choices have become more appropriate, gaining momentum in western nations like the US, UK and Australia.
As a market, the European Union will be the initial area of focus for this project. Due to its legislation on freedom of movement of goods and people, it is an easier market to enter with zero boundaries when travelling.
In addition to the above, the European Union consists of well connected routes for land freight and logistics. Leveraging ground capabilities would be much more cost and time efficient resulting in greater feasibility of the project.
“The freedom of movement we experience here in Europe is like no other.”
Emma 28 Years
Young professional working as a graphic designer at Spotify.Home : Berlin, GermanyIncome : £35,000 / YearDoesn’t own a car and travels with public transport. Emma loves to travel within Europe on trips with friends & family.Environmentally conscious and looks to minimise her impact.Looking to reduce the number of flights taken and trying to take the train.Typically spends £750 on a week-long trip. For trips longer than 3 days, she typically chooses to take luggage. Because of the high cost of rent in Berlin, Emma lives in a modestly small studio space. She is looking to move in with her girlfriend in a couple years.
Trends in logistics
One of the largest barriers to implementing automation in transit facilities is the variations in content dimensions and materials. If standardised, efficient and cost effective technologies could be leveraged to improve logistic services. The logistic industry is rapidly advancing in comparison to luggage operators in transport hubs. They are taking advantage of new technologies and efficient modes of transport. One limiting factor to their advancements are the complexities of the products they handle.
Many operators only get an indication of volume, mass and dimension when the contents has arrived. Therefore rendering efficient planning as a challenging and costly task. If this information would be readily available, greater efficiency gains could be made.
of current warehouses are manually operated with no supporting automation. Upon arrival, the contents are typically unloaded by hand. McKinsey & Company, Supply Chain (2016)
Stakeholders, Environments and Interactions
Benefits of such a product and service
An optimally dimensioned container for all logistic environments allows for efficient processing, handling and storage. Reduces the time to load / offload with optimally positioned handles and stackability.
Emerging technology adopted for best practices and rapid processing. Allows for the most cost efficient route to take place. Could even potentially influence future designs of modes of transportation.
This will enable their journey to be much more flexible. Users will have more time to spend visiting their destination, further stimulating the local economy. They will be able to take advantage of a wider range of transport options seamlessly transitioning from one to the other.
The product also allows for a standardised approach logistic operators can implement and significantly reduce costs. From this, the user can benefit from a competitively priced service which greatly enhances their travel experience.
The product will protect their belongings along its separate journey and give updates on the progress improving transparency and giving peace of mind to the user.
When travelling by plane, this service would act as a sustainable alternative as it leverages low carbon intensive transports to optimise its supply chain.
“The cost, disruption and revenue impact of building new infrastructure is significant. Airports and airlines are recognising that the more processing that can take place away from the airport, the less pressure on constrained infrastructure.” Matthew Lee (Oacis) - The New York Times
4.37x more efficient
than taking your (23kg) luggage with you and on a flight.
In order to further reduce environmental impact. Materials must be light and durable (AU/PC/ABS) and easily recyclable with current practices.
Batteries will be omitted from the product with electrical components powered by 2-way wireless supply from phones.
At its core, the product must be easily repairable and maintained. With the hope of extending the products lifespan.
E-ink displays will remove the need to use single-use, non-recyclable luggage ID tags in transit.
Meeting the growing demand for ecological options
High income countries like the EU-28 and the US are increasingly demanding better sustainable practices from products and services. It is key that this project addresses these requirements.
A growing trend of ecologically sustainable and carbon neutral ground logistic solutions.
reductions in carbon emissions across the logistics industry by 2020 (from 2007 levels).McKinsey & Company (2016).
In 10 years, green options from autonomous electric and hydrogen vehicles to droids and drones will begin a complete shift towards a reduced emissions industry.
Divesting mass from flights will reduce aircraft fuel consumption, an industry where alternative fuel sources are much harder to replace.
The service would give travellers freedom of choice in modes of transport and encourage increased use of shared mobility services.
Price to offsetting remaining emissions of a 23kg bag with this service.
Form boards were created to explore stylistic directions for this project. Focussing on three stylistic categories: Future mobility, functionality and approachability. As this project envisions the future of travel with luggage, visual queues were analysed to see how this could be communicated in this project. Due to the nature of the project, the product needs to be designed optimally for the logistics industry and travellers. Sci-fi ruggedness was a source for inspiration with this paired with the minimal and comforting style of traditional Japanese bento boxes.
Initial Concept Development
With the brief and persona set, an extensive range of concept & idea sketches were developed. These ranged from more “bluesky thinking” towards more feasible and grounded solutions. A decision matrix was conducted with two target users who aided the selection process of which concept moves forward. Due to the range of concepts covered in the matrix, the full table can be found in the Appendix.
The concepts selected to be further developed upon revolved around key themes such as modularity, stackability, user intuitiveness and ergonomics.
Prototyping initial ideas
Design Development Models
To further develop on the selected ideas, some rough miniature scale models were created to understand the interactions and implications of these deisgn decisions. The models were too rough to get feedback on from user groups so it mainly acted as a visual support tool for the project's own development decisions.
Design Development Models
With the route of ownership decided for this project, it was then investigated hwo this product could be used in a living space, leveraging modularity and looking at compact alternatives. This helped add scale to the project to understand which interactions felt natural or uncomfortable.
Further Concept Development
Further Idea Sketches
Based on the scale prototypes and discussions with users, further concepts were developed on how this product could be a part of your living space, exploring modularity and compactness. These concepts arrive at a level of fidelity where greater feedback from users can be obtained. Constructive feedback from stakeholders from both the logistics industry and travellers aided this development.
This concept was developed as an outcome of the tall and narrow option for this project. Layout and sketch rendering were used to further detail the concepts 3D form. It considered the technology involved, its layout and fit. This design was relatively well received by users, although when asked whether they preferred the tall or narrow option, the majority preferred a more shallow and wide product.
With the feedback on the previous concept, further ideas where then explored on a wide and shallow form. Using similar stylistic queues such as the wrapping cover and powerless tech. It was also noted that in the research, users wanted a product which would be predominantly suited for travelling separately but had the ability to be transported by the user themselves when needed.
This then led the project to develop a unique handle system which when retracted acts as useful lifting points for the logistic operator. When extended, acts as a user friendly handle bar.
Final Concept Evaluation
With an initial design made, a design development model was created and evaluated with some target users. The wide handle was very well received as they appreciated its multipurpose function and stability when wheeling. Users felt the volume was appropriate for a short trip abroad, although a larger or expandable volume was asked for by all participants. The testing proved the intuitiveness of the technology and UX, something which will be carried over further.
UX Prototyping and evaluation
Virtual interfaces were prototyped and developed in order to simulate how a user might interact with the service and product. Wireframes and pop-prototyping enabled this. Valuable feedback such as the ability to seamlessly and quickly unlock a container was gained. Understanding when the software could interface with the container (by being placed) needed to be improved upon schematically.