Elenium develops world-first COVID-19 triage and contactless airport check-in

Elenium to introduce touchless health screenings to change the future of travel.

Over the past months the focus at Elenium has been on using technology to make self-service travel accessible to all travellers regardless of their physical ability.  As our collective world has been turned upside down by COVID-19, Elenium has been exploring ways to help our airport and airline partners use this technology by enhancing it to offer touchless health screening.

To ensure the health and safety of passengers and staff, Elenium has developed touchless self-service technology that can detect a passenger’s temperature, heart rate and ask a series of questions at any airport touchpoint such as a kiosk, bag drop, security or immigration – enabling the self-service device to act as a screening station for potential symptoms of COVID-19.

In partnership with Amazon Web Services, Elenium’s  ‘hands free’ technologies enable touchless use of devices through voice recognition and head movement detection, thereby further minimising the potential of any viral or bacterial transmission.                        

CEO and Co-founder, Aaron Hornlimann, said the company recognised an opportunity to enhance existing systems to instill greater confidence in the traveling public during this crisis and in future.

“The potential benefit of such enhancements is to provide peace of mind to passengers and staff that symptoms of illness can be detected at any self-service terminal, so anyone who presents with these symptoms can be intercepted before boarding an aircraft,” he said.

Elenium created a triage kiosk prototype and is currently in discussions with existing aviation customers regarding introducing the technology into airports, including Etihad Airways who will trial the technology.

“We believe this approach is a world first, both the automatic detection of illness symptoms at an aviation self-service touch point, and touchless self-service technology. Combined, this would ensure health screenings can be switched on at any time within an airport, without leaning on health authorities to do this manually,” Mr Hornlimann said.

Mr Hornlimann said that despite challenges facing the aviation sector, it was vital for airports to stay ahead of the curve and instill confidence among passengers that airports are safe environments when the situation returns to normal. 

“We will get over this. We have developed this technology to give airlines and airports the ability to rebound quickly,” he said.

“While it is a very difficult time for the industry, airports have an opportunity during this shut down to make changes now that inspire greater confidence in their processes and solutions, especially when it comes to passenger safety and inclusiveness. We believe the introduction of touchless devices and automated health screening will encourage passengers to return to travel sooner.” 

Jorg Oppermann, VP HUB and Midfield Operations, Etihad Airways said: “We are testing this fit to fly technology because we believe it will not only help in the current environment but also into the future with assessing a passenger’s suitability to travel and thus minimizing disruptions”

The first patent innovation relates to the ability to triage someone at a self-service touchpoint point prior to boarding a plane. It will automatically suspend the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger’s vital signs are beyond the threshold stipulated by the airport or airline. At an airport, the system would screen every individual, including multiple people on the same booking. The technology can 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. 

If someone tests outside of acceptable tolerance, the system will divert to a remote agent or alert in-person staff who can then make further assessments and manage that passenger as appropriate. The company has also lodged a patent on the touchless use of self-service devices, including reading passports by simply holding them up to the camera.

Elenium’s airport self-service kiosk and retrofit module will include:

  • A touchless user interface using voice recognition control in multiple languages
  • A method to interact with a self-service device at an airport using head movement detection
  • A method to read travel documents by holding them open in front of a camera
  • A method to detect a passenger’s vital signs including temperature and heart rate in a contactless way
  • Allow a person to speak to an agent in real time 

Elenium is actively exploring opportunities to introduce self-service kiosks at locations outside of airports,  utilising the vital sign detection technology.

Launched just over four years ago, Elenium has more than 700 check-in kiosks in use by 30 airlines across thirteen airports globally, including Hong Kong, Auckland, Avalon, Bangalore and Sydney airports.

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