Modobag: Is the World Ready for Rideable, Carry-On Luggage?

It can be exhausting lugging around your bags on trips, but how would you feel about riding your luggage through an airport terminal (or city streets) to get from Point A to Point B faster? Chicago entrepreneur Kevin O’Donnell and designer Boyd Bruner recently introduced the Modobag, the first motorized, smart carry-on, through a Kickstarter campaign. Apparently, world travelers aren’t ready for the scooter/suitcase combo; the company didn’t quite reach its goal of $160,000 to bring the product to market.

Aimed at tech enthusiasts, travelers, students, sales professionals, and anyone else seeking reprieve from toting around a suitcase, the Modobag includes an electric motor, a retractable steering column, and a substantial retail price of $1,899 (though luggage-riding enthusiasts could have snagged a bag for a $999 pledge on Kickstarter).

modobag carry on luggageThe bag is 20 pounds while empty, and can hold about 85 percent of what an average carry-on can store with the rest of the space taken up by its motor and parts. It also has cushioned storage compartments, and its polyurethane composite wheels ensure smooth transport whether you’re pulling the suitcase behind you or riding atop.

modobag carry on luggageThe standard Motobag can accommodate riders up to 200 pounds, and a “max” version (priced at $1,299 on Kickstarter) can carry riders up to 260 pounds. Travelers sit on the bag, place their feet on posts at the base and hands on the retractable handlebars, then press a small throttle on the handle to go. Powered by an electric motor on lithium batteries, the Modobag can go up to 8 mph with a range of six miles on a single battery charge, and can get you to your destination three times faster than the average walking speed.

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O’Donnell got the idea for the bag after the kids in a breakdancing group he sponsors started hopping on his roller bag as they raced through the airport. He partnered with college friend Boyd Bruner, who is a technical director, crew chief, and champion of the AMA Superbike Daytona 200. Prior to the Kickstarter launch, O’Donnell test drove the Modobag at heavily-trafficked airports, including O’Hare, JFK, and LaGuardia.

“Modobag is one of the most innovative and exciting advancements to hit the travel industry since rolling suitcases were introduced in the 1970’s,” O’Donnell said in a press release.

modobag carry on luggageThe TSA-compliant bag is equipped with two USB charging ports to charge phones and other portable electronic devices on the go, proximity alert, and a GPS tracking system. Modobag’s companion iOS and Android app monitors battery life and speed via the dashboard feature; global location and travel history tracking via the GPS navigation feature; and packing list creation via the smart packing feature through a partnership with PackPoint. A sensor can also alert you when the bag has left your side, or if it goes out of a preset selected area.

The Kickstarter campaign didn’t receive the initial support it needed to bring the Motobag to mass production, but that doesn’t mean we can’t envision a world with people zipping through the airports atop their suitcases. Check out more fun videos via

Would you ride on the Modobag?