Porter is an autonomous luggage concierge designed to transport your luggage from your home to your destination. It is a speculative product design piece imagining how luggage might evolve in the coming age of shared autonomous transit.
Context: Master’s thesis project
When transit changes, luggage changes. As such, Porter is designed for a near future where transit is shared and autonomous. It works as part of a service that moves your luggage on an optimized, independent journey to your destination. Its heavy-duty construction and reinforced shell protect the user’s belongings, while it’s autonomous, self-loading capability minimize the chances of theft by eliminating a stranger’s touch on one’s luggage.
Phase I: Research
While studying user groups who frequently travel (like businesspeople, nomads, and families), I began to notice a common pattern among each of them: disorganized, unsecured luggage. Professor Susan Harlan ofNorth Carolina’s Wake Forest University remarks in her book, Object Lessons, that the “history of luggage is the history of travel, how we travel, and why, and where”, highlighting the luggage piece as the key product in a travel-centered existence.
Historically, innovations around luggage usually occurred after innovations in transit like: powered locomotion, ocean lines, and commercial air travel.
I identified 4 core user groups to design for: digital nomads, wheelchair users, families with children, and business travelers.
Phase II: Synthesis & Framing
Building on my research, I created a journey map of how users interact with luggage throughout a trip involving an airplane or train. In order to better envision the future context I would be designing for, I created a speculative newspaper and wrote several articles to capture a typical day in a highly-automated, multi-modal transit future.
Phase III: Prototyping
After reviewing my journey map and design fictions together, I realized that automation will allow for a far more streamlined luggage journey in the future. Subsequently, I storyboarded a product that might hint at a fully autonomous future luggage system.