Blind passenger assistance launched at Salt Lake City

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Salt Lake City International Airport has added a new service known as Aira—Artificial Intelligence Remote  Assistant—to assist blind and low-vision passengers to better navigate the airport.

The passenger accesses Aira through a free phone app that is downloaded onto their mobile device. The phone app or special glasses enable a specially trained Aira agent to see the blind person’s surroundings in real time.

Salt Lake City implemented the program in February 2019 and has been working with Aira to fine-tune the system. This required the airport buy a block of minutes for approximately US$8,000 and define a geofenced area to enable users to access the system while at the airport. The geofence currently surrounds the airport’s three terminal buildings and will be updated when The New Salt Lake City Airport opens in September 2020.

Since the program was implemented, usage has averaged about 112 minutes per month.

“We recognize that navigating an airport can be a challenge and are continually working to ensure our facilities are accessible to all,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director, Salt Lake City Department of Airports. “Aira provides a valuable amenity for low-vision passengers to help them navigate the airport with ease.”

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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