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Etihad and Elenium Automation to test at-risk travellers

Etihad Airways will partner with Australian company Elenium Automation to trial new technology which allows self-service devices at airports to identify travellers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of COVID-19.

The UAE’s national airline 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 airways flies non-stop from the UK & Ireland to Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Etihad will initially trial the monitoring technology at Abu Dhabi by the end of April till May 2020, initially with a range of volunteers, and, as flights resume, outbound passengers.

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 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.

Jorg Oppermann, vice-president hub and midfield operations, Etihad Airways, said: “This technology is an early warning indicator to help 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.”

Aaron Hornlimann, CEO and co-founder of Elenium Automation, commented: “We believe this approach is a world first. Elenium has lodged patents for 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.”

Image credit: Jonathan Palombo/Flickr


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