London’s Heathrow Airport is currently trialing a touchless bag drop system from Amadeus. The innovative new system is designed to mimic the utility and user experience of a standard touchscreen, without forcing users to make physical contact with the actual screen.
To that end, the Amadeus system comes with a built-in infrared proximity sensor that can track someone’s finger while it is close to the screen. It is robust enough to pick up someone’s finger at a distance of three centimeters, and sensitive enough to determine when the user is trying to select one of the options being displayed. As a result, passengers can navigate the bag drop system just as they would with a regular touchscreen, and can do so without any of the risk associated with shared surfaces.
The infrared technology has been deployed at six Auto Bag Drop (ABD) kiosks at Heathrow. However, the Airport could expand the system across its entire collection of 270+ ABD kiosks if the trial goes well. Heathrow indicated that the rollout could be completed in a few weeks.
The ABD units themselves come courtesy of ICM Airport Technics, which operates as an Amadeus subsidiary. Amadeus has also explored a ‘screen mirroring’ system that would let travelers control the bag drop system with their own mobile device, but ultimately opted to move forward with an infrared sensor located at the top of the bag drop screen.
“We’re working closely with our airport and airline partners to deliver solutions that help them adapt passenger services to the new environment,” said ICM CEO Richard Dinkelmann.
“We’re preparing to welcome back more travelers, by looking for new and innovative technologies that will help to ensure the passenger experience remains safe and efficient in a post-COVID world,” said London Heathrow Process Improvement Director Mark Burgess. “This is just one of many new measures that we’re implementing across our terminals, as part of Heathrow’s Fly Safe program.”
Amadeus has made its Traveler ID program compatible with the Star Alliance Biometrics program to promote contactless passenger experiences. Heathrow started introducing biometric passenger screening back in 2017.
Source: Passenger Terminal Today
September 14, 2021 – by Eric Weiss