Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries are doing their best to loosen travel restrictions due to the spread of new effective sanitary measures which aim to guarantee health and safety of airport passengers, staff and crew.
At airports, physical distancing is a challenge because of the nature of the security process involving a lot of verbal and physical interactions between passengers and the staff. One cannot avoid proximity when checking travel documents, passengers and their belongings.
These days it is crucial to both ensure effective security and comply with new sanitary standards. That is why airports all over the world are implementing some modern technologies, which can enhance operational efficiencies and boost passenger confidence for air travel.
The most common security solutions used in the airports these days are contactless access control system, face recognition and thermal imaging cameras, self-service kiosks and cleaning robots.
Here are some challenges airports are trying to deal with these days and the solutions they use for that:
There are two powerful tools that airports can implement: identifying contagious passengers or staff and tracking people flow by creating a so-called “contagion map”.
Modern video surveillance systems equipped with thermal imaging cameras can help not only measure crowd movements in queue areas but also define hotspots and high-risk areas. Over time the airports can generate a “heat map” and identify the contagious areas where people violate physical distancing guidelines.
One of the accelerating trends in the airport industry is to use disinfection robots to keep the staff and passengers safe from the virus. Such robotic scrubbers kill 99.9% of pathogens UV technology.
Long screening process leads to a higher risk of queues in the check-in and security check areas. The airports are on board with streamlined screening which means implementing more and more self-screening and self-service solutions at the checkpoints functioning as self-checkout at shops.
In the future, we expect to see completely non-touch technologies allowing people to control them by head movement, voice or mobile phone in every airport.
There is a high demand for advanced security systems with biometric kiosks topping the list as it is necessary to replace fingerprint authentication with other means.
Biometric solutions, such as iris or face recognition terminals, replace manual verification of documents and enhance overall health security. These solutions were trialled before COVID-19 crisis, and now they continue to develop further.
It is a common practice nowadays to check your temperature at the entrance with a hand-held thermal camera or medium/high-density camera system.
It is another popular solution. These devices can also measure your heartbeat, temperature and respiration rate. Such a terminal can be used independently as an entrance control point or as a self-service bag-drop or check-in kiosk.
The latest face recognition systems by Hikvision, Dahua and other IoT market leaders can identify a person in less than a second with 99 % accuracy even in a low-light environment. Moreover, they can be integrated with turnstiles.
The pandemic crisis encouraged the most relevant innovations in airport technology, for example, contactless checkpoints, together with faster development of already existing technologies such as biometric access control, integrated video surveillance systems and monitoring technologies.
Airports make use of various advanced touchless solutions, such as self-service check-in and bag drop-off kiosks, autonomous robots, face recognition terminals, crowd control systems, and thermal access control.
Thus, the air transport sector can comply with new hygiene standards, guarantee the safety of every stakeholder and regain people’s confidence in air travel.