Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, will partner with Australian company Elenium Automation to trial new technology which allows self-service devices at airports to be used to help identify travellers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of COVID-19.
Etihad will be the first airline 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 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. In partnership with Amazon Web Services, Elenium has also developed ‘hands free’ technologies that enable touchless use of self-service devices through voice recognition, further minimising the potential of any viral or bacterial transmission. 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.