MONTREAL — Air Canada has taken the initiative many times over in the airline industry’s response to COVID-19. It was among the first carriers globally to require customer face coverings onboard, and it was the first airline in the Americas to take customers’ temperatures prior to boarding.
Now Air Canada has announced that it plans to explore the application of COVID-19 contact tracing technology in its workplace, using the Bluetooth enabled TraceSCAN app and wearable technology developed by Canadian-based Facedrive Inc.
“The health and safety of our employees is of paramount concern to Air Canada and is key to restoring our operations safely for our customers,” said Samuel Elfassy, Vice President, Safety at Air Canada.
“Air Canada has embraced a science-based approach to managing COVID-19 and as part of this has committed to evaluate the use of new technologies like TraceSCAN’s wearables. We are enthusiastic about exploring the use of TraceSCAN because this Canadian technology has the potential to provide another layer of safety for our employees, so they can focus on taking care of our customers,” said Elfassy.
TraceSCAN Wearables combine AI-enabled mobile application along with wearables devices built on the nRF52 Bluetooth chipset. Facedrive Health developed industry-specific TraceSCAN wearable technology to slow the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace through wristbands, wearable tags worn around the neck or pods that can be kept in the pocket.
Sayan Navaratnam, Chairman and CEO at Facedrive Inc., said his company is pleased to help Air Canada explore ways to provide additional protection to their employees.
“We hope this pilot will be a model for other airlines to follow and look forward to continuing to work with industry to protect Canadians as our country returns to its normal working and travel schedules,” said Navaratnam.
He added that Facedrive’s project with Air Canada “is ground-breaking and provides another critical example of how TraceSCAN supplements the capability of the Canadian government-sponsored COVID Alert App.”
The technology behind TraceSCAN was developed in partnership with the University of Waterloo.
TraceSCAN is an AI-powered solution for contact tracing in the workplace which can track staff exposure to COVID-19 without GPS information, said William Melek, University of Waterloo mechanical and mechatronics engineering professor.
In May 2020 Air Canada introduced Air Canada CleanCare+, to apply industry leading biosafety measures at each stage of the journey.
Air Canada has also partnered with medical and technology organizations to further advance biosafety across its business, including with McMaster HealthLabs for an airport arrivals COVID-19 study, the Cleveland Clinic Canada for medical advisory services, Abbott for rapid testing, Spartan Bioscience to explore portable COVID-19 testing technology and, since 2019, with Toronto-based BlueDot for real-time infectious disease global monitoring.