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Luggage Tracker

A rentable GPS/satellite device tracking for luggage
  [vote for,

You are about to fly to Australia for a 3 month backpack trip. Your luggage is worth multiple hundreds of dollars, but when lost you will only be given about a hundred.

Now you are wondering why you didn't rent a Luggage Tracker(tm) from the kiosk at the international airport.

The Luggage Tracker(tm) is a GPS device glued with appropriate logic to a satellite phone.

Luggage Tracker Inc. charges for the rental, and if your luggage is lost by an air carrier then you visit a kiosk and for an extra fee they'll tell you where you can find your suitcase.

Since it will likely be found at another airport, the people at the kiosks spend some time actually looking for lost items.

For an astronomical fee they'll look elsewhere.

The cost of shipping the item is covered by the air carrier, or at least subsidized by their usual fractional reimbursement.

The tracker turns itself on for 10 seconds every half hour, reads it position via GPS and transmits to an iridium satellite. The typical battery lifetime for each separate device is usually 2 hours, so with the times mentioned the system can be active for over a week.

Via GPS, accelerometers and a world map of elevations, it can determine if it is in flight, and not transmit lest the air carriers complain about interference from wireless devices causing crashes.

Now if the tracker gets lost...

BTW: Either Quantas or American Airlines sent my sister's backpack to a merchant in Abu Dhabi.

Reality check: Motorola no longer makes Iridium phones. The Iridium system has gone belly up so will likely not be around for a long time. The institutional inertia required to jump start production and maintain Iridium would far outweigh the profitability, which is limited by what the market is currently willing to spend to insure luggage (which isn't much).

emaveneau, Jun 13 2003

Iridium http://www.iridium.com
Doesn't explicitly mention if it will transmit indoors. Vaguely mentions "line of sight" and shows people outdoors. Looks like a large antenna and battery may be required. [emaveneau, Oct 04 2004]

[halfbakery]. Luggage Locator. http://www.halfbake...a/Luggage_20Locator
Similar but different. [emaveneau, Oct 04 2004]

Sattelite phone prices http://www.roberts-...ellite_rentals.html
Cost of phone $1000, 10 minutes of time per day $30. So total equipment $1700? Rental $50. Find-me(tm) fee $? [emaveneau, Oct 04 2004]

(??) GPS tracking tag for free from Adobe! http://www.adobe.co...nk_LP_offer_tag.gif
Adobe Acrobat special offer - Order Acrobat6 online, and get a free GPS luggage tracking tag! This sounds too good to be true [andybryant, Oct 04 2004]


       So, in addition to the lost luggage, you have to pay for the lost rental tracker?

How about if you yourself are lost? “Tragically, everyone aboard was killed, but we were able to recover the luggage, thanks to Luggage Tracker™.”
pluterday, Jun 13 2003

       You're not going to be able to acquire a GPS signal or transmit to an Iridium satellite from a suitcase in the bottom of a bin full of other suitcases, I wouldn't think.
waugsqueke, Jun 13 2003

       [pluterday] The customer only pays to rent the tracker and to retrieve their luggage.   

       Alternatively a higher rental price and a partial refund for returning the device, but no refund if the company must hunt for your luggage.   

       We can assume that most of the time even when the luggage is lost the tracker will be found.   

       If the tracker gets lost, it could have a sticker advertising a small reward if returned.   

       But if the luggage is stolen and tracker destroyed. well.. that's about $2k gone. :(
emaveneau, Jun 13 2003

       [waugsqueke], With a larger than standard antenna and larger battery... Yeah it probably will not work, or if it would then it would probably not fit into a suitcase. Oh well, this is half baked.
emaveneau, Jun 13 2003

       This is an excellent first idea. There may be problems with its implemetation (okay, so maybe it won't work), but the spirit, intention and writing are top notch. Croissant for encouragement.   

snarfyguy, Jun 13 2003

       [snarfyguy] Thank you.
emaveneau, Jun 13 2003

       Just make the planes big enough so passengers can take everything they can carry as carry on. It looks to me like most people do that anyway. I'm frequently asked to store my laptop computer under the seat so another passenger can squeeze something the size of a dishwasher into the over head bin.
kbecker, Jun 13 2003

       emaveneau, I don't think you have size issues, I think you're going to have line-of-sight problems, especially with the Iridiums.
waugsqueke, Jun 13 2003

       Why not just fit every airport with recievers (same as they use in portable phones) and transmitters in the suitcase with unique identification numbers, then you don't have to worry about gps stuff.   

       Also you could have your own personal reciever so while you're on your flight you'd know if you're in 300 feet of your suitcase and whether you should start stressing out or not.
calculust, Jun 14 2003

       $2k each you say! So 100 passengers, 2 bags each, humm, comes to 400 thousand dollars. And 100 flights a day, let’s say, then that would be a 40 million dollar investment flying out of one large airport each day. Potentially anyway. And you run this thing out of a kiosk?
ldischler, Jun 14 2003

       Excellent first idea indeed. Is Iridium still afloat? I thought they were tanking their satellites...   

       Another point, instead of just using this for luggage, rent it for shipping packages as well. Now you no longer have to trust UPS or FedEx as to where your package is.
phoenix, Jun 14 2003

       New GPS enabled phones are fairly inexpensive. Stick a freshly charged battery in one, and leave it turned in your luggage. Make sure it's from a provider with international roaming. If your luggage gets lost, call the phone and have it report its location to you
senatorjam, Jun 14 2003

       Hola? Su telefono?! No mas! Muy Gracias, huero! bzzzz
thumbwax, Jun 15 2003


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