In a first, ‘smart’ gate coming up at Kannur airport to screen passengers for COVID-19

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: India’s first smart Artificial Intelligence-enabled temperature screening airport gate is coming up at Kannur. It will be implemented by next week by Parliamentarians with Innovators for India (PII), a social organisation working to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 70-member core team of PII got in touch with a UK-based innovative company ten days ago to procure various components for the AI-enabled temperature screening airport gate. Anil K Antony, who is the national coordinator of PII, told The New Indian Express that the capacity of the latest AI-enabled temperature screening airport gate is larger and its accuracy matchless.

“This is the first of its kind in India which is a good first-level scanning facility at the entry gate of the Kannur airport. It is a low-cost AI equipment coming up for Rs 13 lakh as our primary aim is to work with CSR partners who are attached to PII. Our overall focus is on cost-effective equipment,” said Antony who has already come up with a slew of projects to combat COVID-19 under the banner of PII across the country, including his home state.

Though Kannur MP K Sudhakaran is not a member of PII, he is also associated with the setting up of the AI-enabled temperature screening airport gate at the airport. V Thulasidas, managing director of KIAL, confirmed that all gates at Kannur airport will be having the temperature screening facilities from next week.

“Already three devices have arrived and two more are expected by Monday. Within the next week, all the gates of Kannur airport will have the temperature screening facilities. What we need when a flight arrives is to check the temperature of all the passengers without waiting for a long time,” said Thulasidas. He also informed that the latest facility will be used for checking the temperature of staff as well.

The PII was behind the setting up of a 20-bed recovery centre at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies (RGIDS) at Thiruvananthapuram which was handed over to the district collector by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.

This was implemented with the joint support of Anant National University, Gujarat and Miniya Chatterji, CEO of Sustain Labs, Paris, who is one of the mentors of PII. A ‘plug and play’, highly localised and scalable model for COVID-19 recovery facilities for moderate and mild cases is effective and takes less than a week to set up. It has incurred only one-tenth the cost of traditional recovery facilities. Already the PII has come out with a 100-bed quarantine centre in Mumbai under the aegis of Milind Deora, former Union telecom and IT minister.

Early this month, Thiruvananthapuram airport had got its first thermal and optical imaging camera with AI-powered face detection technology to screen people for fever by ensuring social distancing. Shashi Tharoor, MP, purchased the thermal camera using his MPLADS fund after it had quite a tumultuous journey from Amsterdam via Cologne, Paris, Leipzig, Brussels, Bahrain, Dubai, Bengaluru and finally Thiruvananthapuram.

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