Why Some Staff At Doha Hamad Airport Will Wear Helmets

Filed Under: Qatar

With the goal of reassuring people that it’s safe to travel, airlines and airports around the world are unveiling measures they’re taking to safeguard passengers.

Yesterday Qatar Airways revealed new safety initiatives (including masks for passengers and full body PPE for crews, pictured below), and today Doha Hamad International Airport has shared some updates as well… including that many airport employees wearing helmets?!

Doha Airport’s fancy helmets

Chances are that most people would do a double-take if they walked through the airport and saw people wearing the below helmets.

Well, you better get used to it, because it will be a common site at Doha Hamad Airport.

What exactly is going on? The airport is introducing the Smart Screening Helmet, which is a wearable, intelligent helmet. This is intended to enable portable, safe, contactless, and effective temperature measurement of passengers. The helmet uses infrared thermal imaging, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality, to screen passengers.

I suppose it’s creative technology, though without context I feel like this will freak some people out. It’s one thing if you know you’re being scanned for your temperature, but if you have someone wearing a helmet who you can’t make eye contact with approaching you, you may be a bit uncomfortable.

Doha Airport’s disinfectant robots

In addition to the above helmets, Doha Hamad Airport will also introduce disinfectant robots, which are fully autonomous mobile devices emitting concentrated UV-C light, known to be effective in eliminating a majority of infectious microorganisms.

The robots will be deployed in high passenger flow areas.

Other initiatives at Hamad Airport

In addition to the above, here’s what else you can expect if passing through Doha Hamad Airport:

  • Passengers will be provided with hand sanitizer at key locations throughout the airport
  • The airport will require 1.5m social distancing across all passenger touch points throughout the airport, which will be enforced with floor markings, signage, and distance seating
  • All HIA retail and food and beverage outlets will encourage cashless transactions through cards, and the airport is considering introducing online or in-app purchases in the future
  • Ultraviolet disinfection tunnels will be used to disinfect all checked-in passenger luggage
  • A face mask detection system will use artificial intelligence and computer vision technologies to automatically detect if all employees are wearing masks
  • High contact areas will be cleaned and disinfected every 10-15 minutes, and all baggage trolleys and tubs will be regularly disinfected

Bottom line

Doha Airport has announced a series of initiatives intended to keep passengers safe, which coincides with Qatar Airways significantly ramping up operations in the coming weeks.

Most of the initiatives we’re seeing from the airport are pretty much what you’d expect, though the smart helmets are something I haven’t seen anywhere else. I’ll be curious to see just how common these are in practice.

Comments
  1. I like the disinfecting robots good idea and hope they work heavens knows how really dirty airports are / can be.

    As for the helmets interesting concept, most likely workable however perception thats another story. I do find it interesting that the airports within the ME3 are or seem to be much more innovated so far than their US and European counterparts. Of course they are a crush of humility at 2am to 5am on a normal day.

  2. Nothing says “safe to fly” like biohazard level PPE.

    Ignoring the fact that it does next to nothing to protect the passenger as virus droplets will quite happily sit on gloves ready to get transferred onto other surfaces.

  3. Try social distancing at the transfer security at busy times. It’s a scrum and the best of times. Impossible to implement this if they return Ito even 50% of previous passenger numbers as the lines will back up onto the planes passengers just got off. Let alone adding significant times to transfer and board planes

  4. Some say he can make you social distance with a glance. Others say he can check in to a flight without ID. Some even say his checked bag is an entire Toyota Corolla. What ever he does, he’s called THE STIG!

  5. They could make this really fun for everyone with a little imagination. Incorporate this technology, combined with protective suits, into Storm Trooper outfits having them walking around the airport in patrol groups checking on everybody.

  6. What’s next? Qatar airways introducing Power Rangers on board each flight? Just joking! I think these initiatives are well thought… kudos for Qatar airways and Hamad Airport

  7. Ahhh that finally looks like some concepts of ‘the future’ from 20-30 years ago are finally being introduced.

  8. A lot of show about passenger safety, but maybe instead Qatar would be better getting some basic human rights for women, LGBT, migrant workers…..

  9. I will feel like Im on one of star wars’ ship – Im trying to find if Darth Vader is around.

  10. Gotta love these tech marketers, I want them to explain exactly how these machines employ “ artificial intelligence, and augmented reality”

    Thermal sensors I get

  11. Thermal imaging can by done by sitting at a monitor. It does not improve the image if it is mounted on your head; but perhaps it helps in identifying the passenger in a crowd and wrestling him/her to the ground.

  12. Those UV-C lights are neat, but they can cause serious burns when they get close to skin. Also, they tend to degrade certain materials like synthetic rubber.

    I could see the excitement when luggage that has passed through the Doha airport starts exploding on the baggage carousels due to zippers failing.

  13. Hey QR and your Doha controlled airport —-Forget the Star Wars helmets and your cabin staff Bio hazard level 4,0000 haz mat suits, please stop with this dog and pony PR show and stunts. Do you really think the traveling public is buying all your theatrics!

  14. Serious question – I know lots of people are still flying in the US. I read lots about social distancing on a plane – but how are boarding queues being handled – they are a free for all at most airports. Same with immigration queues (which are currently pretty much empty in Australia!). Just intrigued.

  15. All this is just creating divide between crew and passengers (aka “the zombies”). How likely is a fully zipped up hazmat passenger wearing VR helmet to make it through the airport without being stripped of all this gear?

  16. The coronavirus is a respiratory virus. To protect oneself from it, you need to protect your nose and mouth. It doesn’t enter or absorb through the skin. So what’s the point of biohazard style full body PPE?

    My workplace is planning for an eventual return to work (for people who must work in some of our labs and with physical infrastructure at least) with masks and social distancing, but our health and safety department is specifically *discouraging* gloves for this reason – covering one’s skin or clothes doesn’t really do anything to keep the virus from spreading, as it can sit on top of body PPE just as easily. Unless flight crews are going through full biosafety style training to use this, and wearing it for the entirety of the flight, taking the bodysuits on an off during the flight will probably cause more viral particles, bacteria, and other contaminants to fly up into the air than if they just wore uniforms or comfortable clothing, with masks, that could easily be worn undisturbed for the flight.

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