Travellers set to fly with Etihad will be among the first in the world to check-in for flights using new technology designed to identify medically at-risk travellers.
The technology could help to identify those in the early stages of Covid-19.
It will be installed at Etihad’s hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport and testing will begin this month.
Designed by Australian company Elenium Automation, the technology allows for automated self-service check-in and bag drop facilities by scanning passengers' heart rates, temperature and respiratory rates.
Any possible illness detected through these readings automatically suspends the process. An alert is then issued to Etihad staff, either on-site or via teleconference. These staff will then make further assessments on travellers.
An early warning
“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,” said Jorg Oppermann, vice president hub and midfield operations at Etihad Airways.
Elenium Automation has also created hands-free self-service technology to be installed throughout the airport. Using voice recognition, the technology is designed to limit the potential of any viral or bacterial transmission.
"We believe the introduction of touchless self-service and automated health screening will encourage passengers to return to travel sooner," said Aaron Hornlimann, chief executive of Elenium Automation.
This could be useful at various points of travellers' airport journeys including security points, information kiosks and immigration gates.
The services will be tested using volunteers and will then be implemented for select Etihad flights when regular passenger air services resume.