Aerospace & Defence

Providing Hawaii's airports with temperature screening

23rd July 2020
Alex Lynn

NEC and their partner, Infrared Cameras, were selected by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) to provide thermal temperature screening and facial recognition technology at Hawaii's public airports to help protect the community and identify passengers with a potentially elevated body temperature. The companies’ combined resources to submit a unified proposal for the project.

"Taking these steps to implement the technology at our airports shows our commitment to providing preventative measures against COVID-19 for the community," said Hawaii's Governor David Ige. "We recognise that temperature screening won't catch every infected passenger, but it is an available tool that can be implemented and combined with the additional measures the State is providing to help prevent the spread of this virus, while helping rebuild the economy."

"We are honoured to become a part of this significant project for Hawaii towards the revival of tourism and business in the state," added Toshifumi Yoshizaki, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation. "We believe NEC's technology will help to ensure the safety and health of visitors and residents of Hawaii against COVID-19, and our team will make every effort to ensure the success of this public and private joint project together with all of the partner companies."

"Team NEC's approach is predicated on enhancing existing processes and services rather than introducing a bottleneck or negative impact to processing speed," said Raffie Beroukhim, Chief Experience Officer for NEC Corporation of America. "We look forward to working with the State of Hawaii to further automate and enhance the travelers' experiences with our high throughput, multi-person thermal screening solution."

NEC and Infrared Cameras were selected with a proposal of $23.3m for equipment and installation and a ten-year maintenance plan of $1.42m annually for a total contract amount of $37.5m. The companies were selected in part because of their innovative concept and functionality to deliver accurate and efficient thermal temperature screening for people traveling to Hawaii. The selection committee evaluated various systems and technologies and NEC and Infrared Cameras were determined to be the best fit for Hawaii's needs.

The thermal temperature screening equipment will be installed immediately at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Kahului Airport (OGG), Lihue Airport (LIH), Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) and Hilo International Airport (ITO).

Phase 1 will have the temperature scanners installed this month at the gates currently being used for arriving trans-Pacific flights.

Phase 2 will have the temperature scanners installed at the remaining gates in the coming weeks.

Phase 3 expects to have the facial recognition equipment installed by December 31, 2020.

While the Hawaii airports system will leverage facial recognition technology, people should not think of the features they may have seen in a movie. The system incorporates privacy protections from design to deployment and NEC will work with HDOT throughout this process to ensure the solution meets the requirements of the State of Hawaii.

Furthermore, the system will only temporarily retain a picture of a person with an elevated temperature of 100.4°F and above to help airport representatives identify them and conduct an additional assessment to determine if health precautions are necessary. The picture will be erased within 30 minutes and will not be shared with any outside agencies. Anyone with a temperature below 100.4°F will not have their image retained at all.

The system will not automatically have a person's personal information, such as their name, address or driver license number. It will not contain information about criminal history or outstanding warrants.

The use of the thermal image capture technology is anticipated to be safer and more cost effective than manual temperature checks. Without the use of facial recognition technology, an employee would need to be next to each camera at all times to pull a person aside as they walk by the camera, creating bottlenecks and further exposing employees to travellers and, thus, possible COVID-19 infection.  

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