Abu Dhabi Airports deploys touchless elevator technology in response to COVID-19

Deployment of touchless technology follows the introduction of several other innovations designed to minimse the spread of COVID-19 within airports

Abu Dhabi Airports has partnered with Meta Touch to rollout touchless technology across 53 elevators at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). Billed as a world first, the move will help prevent cross-infection from interacting with elevator buttons and enable a COVID-19-free airport environment.

The technology, known as Tchk (Touch-less Keypad Technology), was designed and manufactured by Meta Touch, a start-up based at the UAE University Science and Innovation Park (UAEU SIP). The technology is said to enable users to command an elevator without physically pressing buttons but rather by waving their hands in front of the panel to indicate the desired floor or direction.

According to a statement, Abu Dhabi Airports’ investment in the technology is the result of the commitment to containing the spread of COVID-19, and ensuring that its airports and facilities remain safe and healthy environments for passengers, staff and visitors. The airport group says that it is continually refining its health and safety procedures to enable a safe, smooth and seamless travel experience for all passengers, in line with the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports.

“The installation of the new technology across our elevators at Abu Dhabi International Airport is a significant development in ensuring the safety of all our guests and travellers. This innovative technology bolsters the extensive safety measures our company has implemented as a regional leader in the airports sector. We are constantly introducing new solutions at Abu Dhabi International Airport to contain the spread of COVID-19 and deliver a safe, smooth and seamless travel experience for all our customers. We are particularly proud of installing Tchk, as it will reduce the risk of cross-infection by eliminating the need to physically touch any elevator buttons,” explained Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports.

Dr. Fady Al Najjar, associate professor at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and CEO of Meta Touch added, “At Meta Touch, we were keen to quickly design, test, and manufacture technology that can protect public health and fight the spread of COVID-19. These new devices are designed to be easy to install on any elevator, enabling companies to quickly introduce this additional protection against the virus. We are proud to introduce Tchk for the first time across the globe at Abu Dhabi International Airport, and will continue to support the nation in overcoming this outbreak.”

The rollout of Tchk follows the introduction of CoDi BOT UGV robots and SterixGates sterilisation booths. The former are designed to support the sterilisation of staff areas, cargo facilities and passenger aircraft cabins, while the latter are said to be able to safely disinfect a person within as little as three seconds, the statement said.

The airport has also deployed thermal scanning cameras that incorporate AI technology, as well cameras with facial recognition capabilities and heat motion sensors to track the movements of people, including those potentially infected with COVID-19.

The new measures are being implemented alongside existing preventative measures, which include nasal swabbing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, as well as other measures recommended by the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP).

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