How innovative AI solutions are helping the travel industry reopen

With vaccines being deployed around the world and the infection rate of the Coronavirus steadily starting to fall, there are signs that the travel industry could tentatively reopen as the year goes on.

But with governments and citizens concerned about a resurgence of the virus, this reopening will be accompanied by strict measures designed to keep infection rates low.

Fortunately, a range of companies have already started to think innovatively about ways to help the travel industry get back on its feet – using innovative smart technology and Artificial Intelligence. Here are three ways where they are doing just that:


Cut the queues, kill the virus

It’s well known that social distancing helps to heavily restrict the movement of the virus. But what happens in situations where it’s practically impossible to enforce the 2m rule?

For any of us who have been to an airport, we know that space is a luxury that isn’t typically found in terminal buildings. In fact, airports are very good at doing quite the opposite; processing, containing and moving through thousands of people every single day.

In COVID-19 times, this obviously isn’t manageable. So instead, airports have turned to technology to help manage capacity – one such innovation is the use of e-Gates that automate the ID verification process through facial recognition at border control, in turn speeding up wait times and reducing congestion.

Other technologies have been designed to reduce bottlenecks, such as at security, by speeding up the whole process. SeeTrue, for example, plugs into scanners to alert staff to suspicious objects – cutting down the manual checks needing to be done, and allowing queues to move quicker.


Reducing contact points

With the virus able to spread through mutual contact of surfaces, it’s important that the air travel industry heavily reduces the frequency of touchpoints for passengers. is an artificial intelligence company that aims to make “voice interactions the new digital standard”. Its target is to turn digital kiosks – which you might find in the likes of fast-food restaurants – into voice activated terminals, which could have a huge number of applications for the likes of airport eateries and retailers.

Once again, automated e-Gates are particularly useful at reducing these manual touchpoints too. The ability to pass through security just by scanning the features of your face is key at a time when we’re trying to minimise physical contact.


Tech-enabled health checks

Finally, smart technology is also helping to reduce the overseas movement of the virus by detecting when travellers might be carrying the infection.

Contactless temperature control using thermal imaging cameras are being deployed in airports, helping managers to see when certain passengers are carrying higher than normal temperatures, and allowing them to take appropriate measures. These not only protect fellow passengers but also airport staff with real-time response and statistics.

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