Travel industry in turbulence, but application of AI can ensure a smoother take-off

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Airports worldwide have been beset by operational issues since the post-pandemic return to travel, but Altada’s screening and tracking technology powered by AI can help to calm the chaos.

For millions of people around the world, the long-awaited return of international travel has been anything but smooth. Epic queues, hours-long delays, lost luggage and mass flight cancellations have all combined to make it a summer of travel disruption. Oh well – there’s always another staycation.

Just kidding. The pent-up desire to get on a plane and fly to another country still far outweighs the various inconveniences that travellers are experiencing. But if you were one of the unlucky ones caught up in the recent carnage at Dublin, Atlanta, Heathrow, Schipol, LaGuardia, or any other airport, you may think twice before booking your next flight.

Meanwhile, as airports continue to struggle with a mass influx of passengers, there’s also the possibility of another Covid wave. Most travel restrictions have been relaxed at this stage, but a summer surge of the virus could change that. As the global travel industry staggers to its feet, having lost half its entire value during the pandemic, it’s clear that innovation and imagination are needed – and fast.

Enter the problem-solving power of artificial intelligence. Since the first shockwaves of the pandemic, AI specialists including Altada have been developing custom technology solutions designed to keep airline passengers safe from viral transmission. Now that the travel floodgates have re-opened, keeping people moving through airports has become an equal priority.

Our Computer Vision for Travel & Security allows airport operators to better understand and securely monitor their environment. Our AI can be used to create solutions to deliver a range of benefits in that industry including better passenger flow, reduced queueing and delays, improved border control, the ability to identify persons of interest, optimized hygiene management, reduced carbon emissions and even better traffic flow outside the terminal.

Here are some of the ways in which Altada’s Computer Vision capabilities could be used.

People flow analysis

Analysing the flow of passengers through an airport is crucial to preventing congestion. By monitoring the length and speed of queues at check-in, security, boarding and elsewhere, airports can ensure appropriate staffing levels, especially at busier times, to keep things moving. Our technology can detect disturbances or unattended bags, and can even identify when people are moving against the designated traffic flow.

From a commercial perspective, meanwhile, people flow analysis can help travel brands to boost their ancillary revenues. Automated airport screening, for example, can monitor and analyse passenger footfall to identify ways of encouraging more people to visit shops and restaurants.

Health and hygiene matters

In a travel context, Covid may have taken a back seat to overcrowding and flight disruption but the virus has certainly not gone away. The possibility of renewed social distancing and surface/air hygiene will likely see fewer touchpoints and less human interaction anywhere people share an indoor space, including at airports. 

By preventing a build-up of passengers at key points, Altada’s Computer Vision for Travel & Security has the potential to ease congestion, thus helping to prevent virus transmission. Sophisticated thermal screening cameras can also detect anyone who may have a fever – even among a crowd – and ensure they cannot access the building.

If health/travel restrictions are re-imposed, meanwhile, our AI functionality could be extended, for example to identify anyone due for a Covid test.

Tracking and tracing, with privacy by design

From a security perspective, Altada’s Computer Vision for Travel & Security uses a combination of proprietary features to identify persons of interest – including known bad actors – within large crowds. This technology deploys facial recognition to identify suspects wanted in a variety of circumstances including human trafficking and terrorism.

Naturally, this type of automated tracking and monitoring raises valid concerns about privacy – we couldn’t agree more. We believe that AI is only a force for good when it is deployed ethically to create positive human and business change. Privacy by Design is at the very heart of all our security solutions, and that will never change.

The possibilities are endless. The deployment of AI can accelerate aircraft turnaround; assist with baggage monitoring and counting; provide behavioural analysis (for example, to help identify potentially disruptive passengers); speed up VIP lounge access; improve traffic flow around terminals; and provide valuable insights into airport service levels.

As airports around the world continue to feel the strain, AI technology can help to ensure safer, smoother travels by aggregating key information in near real-time to support quick and accurate decision-making. 

Looking beyond the travel industry, our Computer Vision and vast AI capabilities have  potential applications at music festivals, sports stadiums, shopping malls, universities – anywhere large groups of people gather and move. Altada’s AI can be readily customised to analyse and extract insights from people’s behaviour in order to ensure their safety.

If you’d like to understand how our Computer Vision could enhance your operation – either in travel or any adjacent sector – we’d be happy to arrange a scoping session. Whatever the business issue, there’s a bespoke AI solution that can help.

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned for more blog insights! 

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