Big Brother might be watching you in airports, checking to see if you are wearing a face mask. Several airlines are looking into installing surveillance cameras to spot passengers who are not in compliance with face mask requirements while waiting to board, hoping this effort will win back air travelers who are hesitant to fly during the coronavirus crisis.
According to Forbes, airlines are in negotiations with companies that make AI-powered video detection solutions to help keep passengers and crew safe by ensuring passengers wear masks not only while on board, but also in waiting areas.
"Airlines are having a tough time allowing passengers to feel a level of comfort that it's safe to fly," said Mahesh Saptharishi, of Motorola Solutions that has developed video-based detection technology for companies that can identify people who are not wearing face masks on their premises.
The device sends an automatic alert to team members who can then spring into action. The face mask detection technology provides data to help companies, including airlines, make informed decisions and institute procedures regarding social distancing policies. Cyberlink, another technology company, has developed facial recognition kits that not only tell you if a person is wearing a face mask, but also if it is covering both the nose and mouth.
Saptharishi told Forbes, airlines could simply make the data public using a digital bulletin board at the boarding gate that tells passengers how many people are wearing masks and how many are practicing social distancing. He said, alternatively, key staff members could receive the data and discreetly address the non-compliant individual.
It is hopeful implementing more safety measures will reinstall trust in air traveling among Americans. According to Today, even experts are mixed in their opinion of the safety of air travel during the pandemic. A recent survey found, out of 511 epidemiologists polled, only 20% said they would travel by plane this summer, 44% said they would do so in three months to a year, and 37% said they would fly in over a year. Less than 1% said they would never fly again.
According to Forbes, the airline industry has been slow in responding to the safety guidelines regarding reducing the spread of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been recommending the use of face masks in public since early April. It was not until mid-May that airlines started requiring passengers wear masks on board, but according to reports, they have been inconsistent in enforcing this mandate.
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