As more and more people make plans to travel, they want to be assured that health and safety are a priority at every touch point of their trip. The development of simple touch-free technology – as well as more advanced solutions – has accelerated as the travel industry strives to rebuild customer confidence.
Touchless tech is all about protecting you from the transmission of viruses by reducing or eliminating the need to touch common surfaces in high traffic areas. You’ve probably already experienced more contactless ordering and payment at retailers and restaurants. There are now a variety of hands-free applications are already in use in airports and public transit hubs around the world. Here are some of the high-tech changes you can expect to see when you travel – now and in the not-so-distant future.
Contactless Ground Travel
There has been a gradual shift toward contactless technology in the ground transportation industry, but the popularity of road trips during the pandemic has increased the focus on health and safety measures. Rental car companies are launching contactless pickup and keyless car entry options. To eliminate the payment touch point, people are opting for pre-booked rides to and from airports and train stations.
There has also been a trend toward choosing car services over ride-hailing services or public transportation. Private limousine companies have built passenger confidence by consistently providing a safe experience that includes not touching passenger bags, masking up while driving, installing partitions and providing hand sanitizers.
A Seamless Airport Experience
From arriving at the airport to collecting your luggage, the future of air travel will be automated, touchless and more convenient than ever. The global travel technology solutions company Amadeus recently conducted a survey of travelers. They found that U.S. travelers wanted technology to reduce lines and congestion, protect financial and personal data and minimize face-to-face or physical contact.
Airports have accelerated the transition to touchless technologies at multiple touchpoints, with the goal of digitizing the entire passenger experience. These technologies include biometric screening, digital payments and mobile applications all to ensure a safer, more seamless journey.
The Evolution of Facial Recognition Technology
Many airports are already using facial recognition technology to shorten wait times in immigrations areas, and biometric screening is expected to play a crucial role in creating safer and more efficient check-in and boarding. By enabling the use of a passenger’s face as an ID that authorizes them to pass through each stage of airport security, travelers will be able to enter the terminal, check bags and move through to boarding without continuously presenting boarding passes and other identification.
High-Powered Apps That Enable Remote Check-In
Many airports and airlines are encouraging remote planning and check-in to minimize contact and improve passenger flows. Some companies are developing health apps for passengers and airport workers. One of these is the blockchain-powered APPII digital health pass – that verifies they have been pre-tested for COVID-19 or have immunity before they arrive at the airport. In addition, digital solutions like BagDNA and eTag reduce crowding in departure areas by allowing passengers to remotely check in and tag their bags.
Motion Sensors Will Help Minimize Contact
COVID-19 triggered widespread adoption of temperature and heat sensors or cameras to identify potentially infectious patients. Now, motion and sensor-based technologies are starting to play a role in minimizing social contact at airports and other travel hubs. Passengers at Australia’s Avalon Airport can interact with kiosks by moving their head. Abu Dhabi International Airport has motion-based elevators where users wave their hands to indicate their floor. The Wisefly aviation app sends an alert to the user’s phone if they get too close to someone and can be embedded inside an airport app to help monitor crowded areas.
Post-pandemic, these innovative technologies will continue to be essential to safeguarding your health – and making the future of travel more convenient and enjoyable. And if you’re wondering where to go – here are some great US destinations!