USA. Six companies have joined an initiative at San Diego International Airport to test and refine solutions in a real-life environment for touchless journeys and advancing queue management.
San Diego’s Airport Innovation Lab has welcomed the companies into its recently launched fifth accelerator programme, this one focusing on health and safety at airports.
Ariadne Maps will test and further develop a software and hardware product for indoor crowd analytics and localisation to better understand the movement of passengers in the terminal environment. It will also develop and test a dashboard that is planned to include the number of unique visitors, duration of average visit, hourly occupancy of area, duration of visit per hour, and heat map over a time period.
Art of Context will test recently developed patent pending universal touchless device technology that provides a drop-in, touchless alternative to using touchscreens in existing kiosks and interactive digital signage. Users will be able to interact with the kiosk using familiar and intuitive interfaces such as voice control and remote control via their mobile device.
Honeywell will utilise existing technology to evaluate the value created through deeper video analytics and the effects of positive/negative real time feedback available to the public in the areas of social distancing, mask detection and, possibly, contact tracing.
Intelligent Track Systems will trial a lightweight trolley fitted with a computer tablet that scans passenger-boarding passes. This is an innovation we have previously covered in detail on The Moodie Davitt Report.
Finally, TrayMask’s product is a recyclable sanitary cover for an airplane seat back tray table, referred to as ‘TrayMask’ and ZeroWaste/Banqloop has a smart waste bin enabled with sorting robotics, grinding, and packaging of raw sorted material.
“COVID forced airports around the world to re-evaluate health and safety protocols to mitigate spreading the virus,” said San Diego International Director of Customer Experience & Innovation Rick Belliotti. “We recruited companies that offer viable solutions to reducing passenger contact with high-touch points and effectively managing social distancing. This is an exceptional batch of innovators and we are already extremely impressed with their ideas that have the potential to shape the future airport customer experience.”
Until the end of summer, the companies will participate in a full virtual programme that includes online workshops, sessions with subject matter experts from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and potentially live testing in the airport, health and safety restrictions permitting.
At the conclusion of the programme, successful innovators may enter contract negotiations with the airport’s owner and operator.
“COVID-19 has taught us a lot about mitigating the spread of the virus in a large public venue,” said Airport Authority President and CEO Kimberly J. Becker. “As we focus on recovery and plan for the redevelopment of our Terminal 1, we are very interested in concepts that add to creating a safe and healthy environment for all who travel through our airport.”
The Airport Innovation Lab was launched to reduce barriers of entry to the aviation industry for innovators. Pre-pandemic, participating companies tested and developed their concepts in the lab’s 3,500sq ft space, which offers a functional mini-terminal area with ticket counters and a bag claim carousel, all without passenger or security concern to work around.
With the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, the programme shifted to virtual format, with testing for innovations to resume at the airport when restrictions allow.
San Diego International is the busiest single-runway commercial service airport in the US and the third busiest in California, serving more than 25 million passengers in 2019.