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Etihad To Trial Monitoring Technology At Airport Self-Service Points That Could Detect Coronavirus

Rebecca Shepherd

Published 
| Last updated 

Etihad To Trial Monitoring Technology At Airport Self-Service Points That Could Detect Coronavirus

Etihad Airways has announced plans to trial new technology which could enable self-service devices to identify medical conditions - potentially including the early stages of coronavirus.

The airline will partner with Australian company Elenium Automation and become the first of its kind to trial the technology which can monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person using an airport touchpoint such as a check-in or information kiosk, a bag drop facility, a security point or immigration gate.

The technology Etihad are trialling will be the first of its kind. Credit: PA
The technology Etihad are trialling will be the first of its kind. Credit: PA

The Elenium system will automatically suspend the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger's vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness. It will then divert to a teleconference or alert qualified staff on site, who can make further assessments and manage travellers as appropriate.

Etihad will initially trial the monitoring technology at its hub airport in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, at the end of April and throughout May 2020, initially with a range of volunteers, and, as flights resume, outbound passengers.

Jorg Oppermann, Vice President Hub and Midfield Operations at 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 minimising 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 technology will be at airport touchpoints like self check-in desks. Credit: Etihad
The technology will be at airport touchpoints like self check-in desks. Credit: Etihad

Aaron Hornlimann, CEO and Co-Founder of Elenium Automation, said: "We believe this approach is a world first. Elenium 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.

"Combined, this would ensure health screenings can become standard across airports, without putting staff in harm with manual processes.

"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."

Let's all bring some positivity, support and fun to anyone who might find themselves in isolation as a result of the coronavirus spread. Need some entertainment? Join Isolation Nation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronasupport/

Featured Image Credit: Etihad

Topics: News, Coronavirus

Rebecca Shepherd
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