Software Development

BWI is piloting a LiDAR system to track social distancing at airport security

The system from CrowdVision analyzes whether passengers are six feet apart, and alerts them if they're not.

Baltimore’s airport is piloting new technology to help with social distancing at one of its gates.

The Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport said it is using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) as well as software from U.K.-based analytics company CrowdVision to analyze and report on whether passengers are distancing at its B security checkpoint. This system will notify people when they are properly social distancing, and, if needed, offer a notification to increase space between others.

“Since the outset of the pandemic, BWI Marshall Airport has implemented many measures to help protect passengers and employees,” said Ricky Smith, the airport’s executive director, in a statement. “This innovation provides real-time data on passenger flow so we can notify travelers and manage separation.”

Here’s how a news release describes the technology:

Under the pilot program, LiDAR-enabled sensors analyze passenger movements at the B checkpoint in real-time, counting people and measuring their speed and direction of movement. The motion analytics software calculates physical distancing information and provides easy-to-understand notifications for passengers and airport management. When passengers are providing good physical distancing, the system generates a positive message at the B checkpoint monitor. If passengers are too close together for too long a period of time, the system presents a reminder of social distancing guidelines.

BWI was already using LiDAR, a remote sensing technology which uses laser light to detect objects, to monitor wait times at four checkpoints. Now it will be applied in the pandemic as the airport seeks to balance safety and continue flights.

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