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Hawaii Awards Facial, Thermal Scanning Contract for Airports

Hawaii airports will award a $37.5 million contract to NEC Corp. and its partner Infrared Cameras Inc. to install technology meant to identify and locate travelers showing symptoms of COVID-19.

by The Honolulu Star-Advertiser / July 20, 2020
Infrared camera skin temperature detection system in use. (Infrared Cameras Inc.) TNS

(TNS) — The Hawaii Department of Transportation has selected NEC Corp. and partner Infrared Cameras Inc., for a $37.5 million contract to provide thermal temperature screening and facial-imaging technology at Hawaii airports to identify passengers with a potentially elevated body temperature.

Thermal temperature screening equipment will be installed immediately at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Kahului Airport, Lihue Airport, Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole and Hilo International Airport, according to a DOT news release.

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, and the final phase expects to have facial-imaging equipment installed by Dec. 31, the release said.

“We recognize 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,” said Gov. David Ige in a statement.

The contract includes $23.3 million for equipment and installation and a $1.42 million, 10-year maintenance plan. A selection committee evaluated four systems and technologies before determining the proposals by NEC and Infrared Cameras were “the best fit for Hawaii’s needs,” the news release said.

Raffie Beroukhim, chief experience officer for NEC Corp. of America, said the automated screening system is designed to handle a high volume of passengers. Officials said thermal image capture technology also is safer and more cost-effective than manual temperature checks. And without facial-imaging technology, an employee would need to be next to each camera at all times to pull a person aside as they walk by, creating bottlenecks and exposing employees to travelers who may have COVID-19, the release said.

Officials said the system incorporates privacy protections. It will only temporarily retain a photo of a passenger with an elevated temperature of 100.4 degrees and above to help airport representatives identify them and conduct additional assessments to determine if health precautions are necessary.

The photo will be erased within 30 minutes and will not be shared with any outside agencies, the release said. Passengers with a temperature below 100.4 degrees will not have their image retained at all.

No personal information, such as name, address or driver’s license number, will be contained in the system, nor will information about criminal history or outstanding warrants, the release said.

©2020 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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