By Staff writer
Elenium Automation's contactless devices will monitor temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, possibly detecting cases of Covid-19
Etihad Airways will trial new technology that could herald a change in how passengers around the world check-in to their flights.
Australian company Elenium Automation has developed a self-service device for airports that can help identify travellers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of Covid-19.
The new contactless devices will monitor temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate.
Etihad Airways will become the first airline to test Elenium’s new technology, which will automatically suspend the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger’s vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness.
The system diverts to a teleconference or alerts qualified staff on site, who can make further assessments and manage travellers as appropriate.
The initial trial will be carried out at Abu Dhabi International airport from the end of April and throughout May, initially with a range of volunteers, and, as flights resume, outbound passengers.
“This technology is not designed or intended to diagnose medical conditions,” Jorg Oppermann, vice president Hub and Midfield Operations, Etihad Airways, explained.
“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.”
Oppermann said Etihad sees the new tech as another step towards ensuring that future viral outbreaks do not have the same devastating effect on the global aviation industry.
“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 minimising disruptions,” he said.
Aaron Hornlimann, CEO and co-founder of Elenium Automation, said the company has lodged patents for both the automatic detection of illness symptoms at an aviation self-service touchpoint, and touchless self-service technology at an airport.
“The system would screen every individual, including multiple people on the same booking,” Hornlimann said.
“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.”