BWI Airport launches LiDAR social distancing scheme

Using new technology, customers will be notified if they need to be more dispersed

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) has initiated a pilot programme using new technology that monitors social distancing information for customers at the facility’s security gate B.

Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology as well as software from the airports partner, CrowdVision, are being used for the project to monitor, analyse, and report physical distancing.

Due to the motion analytics software, customers and airport management are notified when the level of social distancing is satisfactory as well as when more physical separation is needed.

BWI Airport
Photo BWI Airport 

“The use of LiDAR technology to promote social distancing helps keep our customers safe and gives them comfort and confidence as they travel through BWI Marshall. This innovative system is another way we’re focusing on the health and safety of the public, our partners and our MDOT team,” said Greg Slater, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) secretary.

BWI was one of the first airports in the world to begin using the LiDAR to identify security wait times in order to improve customer satisfaction and experience.

The laser-mapping technology is the same used in autonomous vehicles and uses a safe, invisible pulsated laser light to detect objects. Since 2019, wait-time information has been exhibited at the four security checkpoints and on the airport’s website.

Mike Cunningham, president of CrowdVision, believes that, “our software solution helps BWI Marshall Airport improve their passengers’ travel experience and, more importantly, keeps them safe and gets them flying again.”

Only ticketed passengers and employees are currently permitted to use the BWI terminal, due to its closure following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health and safety regimes have been implemented at the airport, including hand sanitiser points, protective barriers, and physical distancing markers.