As the crisis continuously affects the global economy, it never slowed down the rise of digital-age technology. Technology companies obtain the opportunity to make contributions on the economic growth and at the same time, as an alternative attribute in mitigating the spread of coronavirus by the travel and tourism sectors, particularly the aviation industry.
Below are the six examples of the technology trends that were developed in UAE and other countries around the world that has been inspired by the COVID-19 crisis.
1. TOUCHLESS KEYPAD
The touchless keypad was already deployed at Abu Dhabi International Airport . This technology uses infra-red sensors detecting fingers for 3cm away. The traveller can go to a lift without even touching any buttons. This will prevent individual to contact with the infected surfaces that can propagate the coronavirus.
“We went through different approaches, mainly for selecting the best sensors,” said Dr Al Najjar, co-founder of Meta Touch, the company at UAE University’s Science and Innovation Park that developed the keypad.
2. BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGY
Biometric technology has been made to enhance the safety precautions in airports such as in US, Australia, China and Europe. This technology uses fingerprint, iris scan, facial recognition and even body temperature scan to improve the safety and efficiency when entering from different countries.
One of the initiative action was taken from The government of Hawaii has accepted a $37-million proposal by NEC Corporation of America and its partner company, Infrared Cameras, to execute passenger screening technology at publicly owned airports in the state.
3. THE IMMUNOTOUCH WRISTBAND
This wristband device was developed to eradicate the spread of Coronavirus.
The Immunotouch, developed by a company based in Seattle, United States, called Slightly Robot. This technology is using an algorithm to interpret data from a gravity sensor or gravimeter, thus can verify if a person’s hand is approaching his or her face and activate a buzzer.
4. TOUCHLESS KEYPAD (Unmanned Ground Vehicle)
Abu Dhabi Airport in partnership with Tawazun Stratgeic Development Fund (TSDF) has launched the new robot named CoDi BOT UGV that was developed for the disinfection purposes in the airport. The UGVs will be operated in collaboration with the broad scope of precautionary procedures executed at Abu Dhabi International Airport to combat the COVID-19.
The introduction of the robot facilitates operational teams to carry out safer tasks for the duration of the sterilisation of aircraft while parked at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), thus eradicating the possibility of human exposure and self-contamination. The robot’s adaptability also enables the disinfection of spaces within the airport terminals.
5. COVID-19 RAPID TEST AND LASER BASED DPI TECHNOLOGY
Emirates has become the first airline in the world to monitor passengers for coronavirus using a pre-boarding blood test. The test was completed at the check-in area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 and the process only takes about 10 minutes in coordination with the Dubai Health Authority.
“This will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers traveling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates.” Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer said.
Last 14 July 2020, MOHAP has announced the use of Laser Based DPI Technology to detect COVID-19 cases before a visitor will be allowed to enter Abu Dhabu Emirate. The procedure for this technology is with the use of the blood samples to examine the virus. The process only takes within a few seconds and serves as the initial step to identify suspected cases of infections prior to undertake a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests.
6. COVID-19 TRACING MOBILE APPLICATION
Smartphone apps are performing a significant part in response to the Covid-19 virus. These apps are utilized to track affected individuals, issue self-quarantine regulations and deliver latest updates to the citizens. Health authorities in Kuwait, UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia have recently begun using new mobile apps to trace COVID-19 patients.
In Saudi Arabia, they launched the mobile application last June 14, 2020 called “Tabaud” . The major purpose of the app is to inform users if they happen to be in close contact with someone who is infested with COVID-19.
In Kuwait, they launched a mobile app last April 18, 2020, called “Shlonik” to monitor those individuals who are in mandatory home quarantine. the Shlonik app is linked with a smart barcoded bracelet that is hooked to the persons in mandatory quarantine. The bracelet tracks their movements and notifies the Ministry of Health if they breach their quarantine.
In Oman, the Ministry of Health in the Sultanate of Oman last April 6,2020 the launch of a mobile app called “Tarassud to track COVID-19 infection rates and monitor infected individuals in quarantine. The app also publishes Oman’s recovery statistics and the Ministry’s data and decisions related to COVID-19.
In UAE, launched the ALHOSN UAE app that detects if an individual has been in close proximity to someone who had contact with someone infected with COVID-19. There is also a smartwatch, a device that is connect with the tracing app that helps to track the location of the patient and to confirm that he or she does not leave home and jeopardize public health.
In this trying times, aviation industry has increasingly taking the initiative measures that will ensure the safety of passengers and the airport staff. With the traditional process, travellers will be concerned about the safety and security of their health but with the continuous innovation and advancement of technology, it can be an alternative solution of reducing and containing the spread of Coronavirus.