OIA hopes new ’crowd radar” will take the anxiety out of flying this holiday season

ORLANDO, Fla. — Flying during the pandemic still has some people a little uneasy but Orlando International is testing new technology to ease that anxiety.

The new technology, dubbed “crowd radar,” is designed to monitor crowds and help with social distancing while passengers are waiting for their flights.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Phil Brown says it’s about making people comfortable.

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“We take communication with the passengers very seriously. We want to give them as much information as they need to make sure that they have a safe and healthy journey” said Brown.

The new technology uses sensors to detect the number of people at each gate and uses a color-coded system on displays throughout the airport.

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Green means there is a low number of people at the gate, yellow a high number, and red would mean that area is full.

Airport officials hope people will use that information to make a good decision about where to sit and when to head to their gate.

“I would gravitate right now, under the pandemic guidelines, I would gravitate toward the green,” said passenger Don Russell. “And if you notice, we’re sitting on the last row.”

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The technology has only been in use since Thanksgiving but officials say they already see it working.

Right now, the plan is to test the technology for another seven months before making the decision to deploy it airport-wide.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.