Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Qatar has formed a joint research partnership with Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) College of Science and Engineering (CSE) for optimising passenger services at the airport.

This is said to be the first such research partnership in the country, where Visual Analytics and Dynamic Graph research techniques will be used to improve the passenger airport experience.

During the 36-month programme, the airport will receive research technique advice, software programming from the university.

The CSE will also synthesise data and share its study findings.

Furthermore, the airport, along with its Information Technology department, will offer problem statements, relevant data, software programming, review research reports as well as test software output from the study.

The airport was chosen for the grant by Qatar Foundation for its capabilities to enhance the university’s research on the advancement and usage of the Visual Analytics and Dynamic Graph techniques.

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This technique is used to identify relationships within massive amounts of data that are visualised to help researchers and airport professionals detect patterns like changing travel routes.

The gathered insights can help HIA provide customised travel experiences to its passengers.

HIA COO Engr Badr Mohammed Al-Meer said: “Our collaboration with HBKU heralds a new era in HIA’s technological evolution and firmly positions Qatar’s airport as a knowledge hub with the expertise to advance the aviation industry in the country and beyond.”

The airport has implemented several solutions and emerging technologies in a bid to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

HIA claims to be the first airport to seek a prototype of UV-C baggage tray disinfection for its cabin baggage scanners.

The airport has also installed fully autonomous disinfectant robots and enabled contactless temperature measurement via its portable Smart Screening Helmets.

In a statement, HIA said: “When adapting to the new normal posed by the pandemic, the airport team used computer vision and artificial intelligence to develop its own automated facial detection system to ensure the airport staff wears masks across the terminal. The home-grown technology was swiftly integrated into HIA’s thermal scanning stations.”

In November last year, Qatar Civil Aviation Authority signed a contract with Leonardo, an Italian multinational company specialising in aerospace, defence and security, for installing and operating an advanced radar at HIA.