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Companies To Test COVID-19 Safety Concepts At San Diego International Airport

Passengers head to planes at the San Diego International Airport on June 24, ...

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: Passengers head to planes at the San Diego International Airport on June 24, 2020.

San Diego International Airport has invited six companies to test health and safety concepts aimed at improving traveler protection amid the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Wednesday.

The companies in the accelerator program at the airport's Innovation Lab will take part through the summer. The effort will include online workshops, sessions with Airport Authority experts and potentially live testing in the airport as health and safety restrictions permit.

The program will focus on airport health and safety, particularly mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

"COVID forced airports around the world to re-evaluate health and safety protocols to mitigate spreading the virus," said Rick Belliotti, airport director of Customer Experience & Innovation. "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."

The companies and their concepts are:

— Ariadne Maps, which will test and develop software and hardware for indoor crowd analytics to better understand the movement of passengers in the terminal environment. They will also develop and test a dashboard that may monitor the numbers of unique visitors, the length of their average visit, hourly occupancy of select areas and other metrics.

— Art of Context, which will test newly developed universal touch- less device technology that provides an alternative to touchscreens in existing kiosks and interactive digital signs. Alternatives include voice control or remote control via mobile devices at airport kiosks;

— Honeywell, which will evaluate the value of deeper video analytics and the effects of positive/negative real-time feedback in the areas of social distancing, mask detection and possibly contact tracing;

— Intelligent Track Systems A/S, a lightweight trolley fitted with a computer tablet that scans passenger-boarding passes;

— TrayMask, a recyclable sanitary cover for an airplane seat back tray table; and

— ZeroWaste/Banqloop, a smart waste bin enabled with sorting robotics, grinding and packaging of raw sorted material.

At the end of the program, successful companies will have the chance to enter into contract negotiations with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, 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 Kimberly J. Becker, Airport Authority president and CEO. "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. Those innovations that succeed at SAN now in the midst of the pandemic will add to our ability to be ready for when passenger volumes return to normal."

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