Etihad Airways will collaborate with Australia's Elenium Automation company for developing new technologies to support travelers who are medically impaired by self-service systems at airports, including the early stages of COVID-19.
Etihad will be the first aviation company to test the technology which allows a person with an airport contact point such as a check-in or an information kiosk, a bag drop, safety center or a migration gate to monitor the temperature, heart rate, and respiratory speed.
When the vital signs of a passenger showed possible symptoms of illness, the Elenium system will interrupt the self-service check-in or bag drop phase automatically. It then diverts to a teleconference or alerts on-site eligible employees who can evaluate the passengers further and handle them accordingly.
Elenium has also developed hand-free technology in collaboration with Amazon Web Services that permits touch-free use of Self-service device through voice recognition, and further minimizes the risk of viral or bacterial transmission.
Initially, Etihad will check monitoring systems with several volunteer staff, and as flights restart, with passengers outbound, at its hub airport in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE at the end of April and the whole of May 2020.
"This is how airplanes with their highly advanced air-recycling systems and standards of hygiene do not pass the air bond diseases," said Jorg Oppermann, Vice President of the hub and midfield operations, Etihad Airways.
We are researching this technology because we believe that it can help to determine a passenger suitability for travel not only in the current COVID-19 outbreak but also in the future. At Etihad, we see this as another step to ensure that potential viral outbreaks do not affect the global aviation industry as devastatingly as they do at present.
"We believe this approach to the world is a first," says CEO Aaron Hornlimann and co-founder of Elenium Automation. Elenium has filed patents for automated identification of signs of illness at a touchpoint for air travel, as well as touchless self-service at an airport. Combined, this will mean that health checks across airports would become routine without affecting manuals.
"Every single person including many people on the same reservation will screen the device. The system can also be retrofitted or mounted in a desk on a passenger processing station like an immigration desk at any airport kiosk or bag drop. We agree that the implementation of touchless self-service and automated health checkups would lead passengers to fly back sooner.
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