Abu Dhabi’s Etihad develops new AI systems to reduce passenger queues at the airport

Voice activated self-service kiosks, bag drop and boarding gate facilities are set to be introduced at Abu Dhabi’s new Midfield Terminal



Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has developed new technology systems to automise the check-in and boarding process and reduce passenger queues, it announced on Wednesday.

The new facilities, created in partnership with automation technology company Elenium, will be displayed at Passenger Terminal Expo in London between March 26–28.

Using cloud technology, artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision and natural human interfacing, new technologies such as voice activated self-service kiosks, bag drop and boarding gate facilities have been developed.

Check-in experience

· Passengers check-in to their flight and register their biometric data on their mobile device before arriving at the airport, reducing queues at the airport.
· Using AI, new baggage-drop terminals scan and memorise each suitcase placed on the belt and assign it to the guest reservation, removing the need for tagged luggage.
· Using biometrics, passengers are identified and offered a personalised duty-free shopping experience through a voice interactive display, catered to the individual’s interests and needs, and also utilising floor space efficiently.
· Customer service kiosks are available throughout the terminal to assist with airport information, provide ancillary opportunities, and because the kiosks are portable, disruption management.
· Passengers will board their flight by walking through boarding channels which will automatically validate them without the need for a printed boarding pass – a faster, safer system.

Etihad Airways will also white label the Elenium voyager app which features booking management, passenger check-in, passport validation, auto check, facial biometric enrolment, payment wallet, itinerary management (hotel, transfer, car etc.) and companion functions.

Jorg Oppermann, VP Hub and Midfield Operations, Etihad Airways said: “With biometric installations increasing across airports globally, Etihad is recognising the growing demand to streamline not just the passenger verification process but to also decrease passenger queues and to increase operational efficiency.”

The overall aim is to make the passenger’s journey a “frictionless and digitally enabled experience across all channels and touch points at the airport”, the airline said.

Aaron Hornlimann, Elenium Automation’s CEO said: “Our vision is for passengers to simply walk through the airport unencumbered by the legacy of kiosk touch screens and the need to scan a boarding pass.”

Etihad said it will install the new self-service transfer kiosks in phases at the new Midfield Terminal in Abu Dhabi.

The Dhs10.8bn delayed new airport terminal is scheduled to open by the fourth quarter of 2019.