Etihad will begin testing a new check-in kiosk that will employ substantial new technology that can even detect if you are sick. Checking in for your flight could detect early signs of illness such as COVID-19 before passengers board aircraft.
Taking Self Check-in To The Next Level
Elenium Automation of Australia is at the forefront of next-generation, self-check-in technology. Imagine a self-service kiosk that can:
- Scan your passport,
- Check you in for your flight,
- Check your bag(s) – bag drop and
- Check your fitness to fly.
This new technology in the “triage kiosk” can monitor a passenger’s:
- Heart rate and
- respiratory rate
The idea behind the triage screening is to identify potential passengers that may be ill during the check-in process. If the passenger fails the health screening, the check-in process will stop. When that happens, the kiosk will either alert or teleconference the passenger with qualified on-site staff that can make a further assessment of that passenger’s fitness to fly.
The technology developed self-service technology that can detect vital health measurements from a distance of 1.5 meters using airport touchpoint devices at check-in, security or immigration.
CEO and Co-founder, Aaron Hornlimann, said the company recognized an opportunity to enhance existing systems to instill greater confidence in the traveling public during this crisis and in the future.
“The potential benefit of such enhancements is to provide peace of mind to passengers and staff that symptoms of illness can be detected at any self-service terminal, so anyone who presents with these symptoms can be intercepted before boarding an aircraft,” he said.
Partnership With Amazon Web Services
In partnership with Amazon Web Services, Elenium has also developed ‘hands-free’ technologies that enable touchless use of devices through voice recognition and head movement detection, thereby further minimizing the potential of any viral or bacterial transmission. This is key to prevent one passenger from infecting other passengers during the check-in process.
“We believe this approach is a world first, both the automatic detection of illness symptoms at an aviation self-service touchpoint and touchless self-service technology. Combined, this would ensure health screenings can be switched on at any time within an airport, without leaning on health authorities to do this manually,” Mr. Hornlimann said.
Elenium is currently in discussions with existing aviation customers to introduce the triage kiosk technology into the airports they serve.
Mr. Hornlimann said that despite challenges facing the aviation sector, it was vital for airports to stay ahead of the curve and instill confidence among passengers that airports are safe environments when the situation returns to normal.
“We will get over this. We have developed this technology to give airlines and airports the ability to rebound quickly,” he said.
The company said “While it is a very difficult time for the industry, airports have an opportunity during this shut down to make changes now that inspire greater confidence in their processes and solutions, especially when it comes to passenger safety and inclusiveness. We believe the introduction of touchless devices and automated health screening will encourage passengers to return to travel sooner.”
Elenium’s airport self-service kiosk and the retrofit module will include:
- A touchless user interface using voice recognition control in multiple languages,
- A method to interact with a self-service device at an airport using head movement detection,
- A method to read travel documents by holding them open in front of a camera,
- A method to detect a passenger’s vital signs including temperature and heart rate in a contactless way,
- Allow a person to speak to an agent in real-time.
Etihad To Launch Triage Kiosk Trials
Etihad will begin kiosk trials at their hub airport in Abu Dhabi. They are scheduled to begin the test period in late April which will extend through May, 2020. The trial will monitor the technology for COVID-19 screening with volunteers initially. They plan to roll out a further evaluation of outbound passengers as flights resume.
Jorg Oppermann, Vice President Hub and Midfield Operations, Etihad Airways, said: “This technology is not designed or intended to diagnose medical conditions. It is an early warning indicator which will help to identify people with general symptoms, so that they can be further assessed by medical experts, potentially preventing the spread of some conditions to others preparing to board flights to multiple destinations.
“It has long been the case that aircraft, with their highly sophisticated air-recycling systems and standards of hygiene, are not the transmission vehicle for illnesses. We are testing this technology because we believe it will not only help in the current COVID-19 outbreak but also into the future, with assessing a passenger’s suitability to travel and thus minimizing disruptions. At Etihad, we see this is another step towards ensuring that future viral outbreaks do not have the same devastating effect on the global aviation industry as is currently the case.”
The fastest way to spread disease is to transport hundreds of strangers locked in a 100-ton can of Pringles and transporting them thousands of miles in just hours. Without any practical means of health screenings, aircraft can become flying Petri dishes.
The Tirage Kiosk can be a game-changer is the technology is reliable and accurate. If it is successful, the spreading of diseases by airline passengers may be reduced by knowing who may be sick prior to boarding. I hope that this technology lives up to the challenge. If this kiosk is successful and it is widely distributed, it could help passengers feel more comfortable about flying and return to the skies sooner.