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 The company IBM Japan and four other partners are developing a smart suitcase that uses Artificial Intelligence (Al) to help people with visual disabilities to travel alone with greater freedom and security.
 Visually-impaired people usually face problems using public transport and accessing other services. Luckily, there are canes and guide dogs to lead them around obstacles. These aids will soon be complemented with smart suitcases which would help them to travel independently.
 Chicko Asakawa, an IBM Japan fellow who has vision problems, walks with the assistance of the first prototype of a robotic suitcase equipped with Al. The smart suitcase, which has been inspired by a proposal from Chieko, is equipped with a sensor, a camera, and a battery to detect obstacles and alert its users through tactile sensation. According to its designers, it will also notify users if friends approach or if there are cafés and other facilities nearby through an audio system.
 In an interview with a Japanese newspaper, Chieko said that she got the idea when she was pushing a suitcase in front of her during a business trip. She thought that visually impaired people could walk safely if a suitcase would scan the surroundings for danger.
 Different companies are contributing to the development of the suitcase. IBM Japan will be responsible for Artificial Intelligence integrated into the suitcase. For its part, Alps Alpine will be responsible for tactile technology, Omron for image recognition and detection techniques, Shimizu for the navigation system, and Mitsubishi Motors for automotive technologies.
 The smart suitcase will be used at airports, shopping centers, and in other indoor areas. It will later be improved so that users can use it in outdoor areas. The device is expected to be on the market in 2022.