Etihad Trials New Technology to Identify Medically At-Risk Travelers

The contactless technology can monitor the temperature, heart, and respiratory rate of any person via an airport touchpoint.

Photo: Elenium Automation

Currently, airports around the world are using thermal scanning systems to check the temperatures of passengers due to fever being one of the key COVID-19 symptoms. However, Etihad Airways has plans to take this further with new technological trials to help identify medically at-risk travelers, including those with coronavirus.

Jorg Oppermann, vice president hub and midfield operations, Etihad Airways, added: “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.”

The UAE flag carrier is partnering with Australian company Elenium Automation to trial the contactless technology, which can monitor the temperature, heart, and respiratory rate of any person via an airport touchpoint. These touchpoints include check-in counters, information kiosks, security points, immigration gates, and bag drop facilities.

According to the airline, passengers with vital signs that indicate potential illness will be directed “to a teleconference or alert qualified staff on site, who can make further assessments and manage travelers as appropriate.”

Initially, the airline will test the technology with volunteers, followed by outbound passengers when flights resume.

Aaron Hornlimann, CEO and co-founder of Elenium Automation, said: “The system would screen every individual, including multiple people on the same booking.”

“The technology can also be retrofitted into any airport kiosk or bag drop or installed as a desktop system at a passenger processing point such as an immigration desk. We believe the introduction of touchless self-service and automated health screening will encourage passengers to return to travel sooner.”

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