Memphis International Airport offers new service for blind and low vision passengers

Memphis International Airport (MEM) has partnered with technology company Aira Airport Network on expanded services for blind or low-vision passengers.

Through the new program, passengers traveling to and from MEM can access the Aira Airport network powered by its Site Access technology, and connect with professional agents who act as visual interpreters. The Aira app works by wearing Aira smart glasses or via the traveler’s phone camera, enabling passengers to share views of their surroundings and interact with the agent.

With a live view of surroundings, crowd flow, signage or other objects from the traveler’s perspective, Aira agents deliver a real-time narrative to the traveler using an augmented reality dashboard. The service enables navigation through the airport and provides assistance with other tasks such as flight information, locating and identifying baggage and arranging transportation.

Kevin Phelan, vice president of Aira, said, “We’re proud to announce this partnership with an innovator like Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. As today’s fastest-growing assistive community for the blind or low-vision population, we focus on delivering immediate, accurate information anytime and anywhere. With the dynamic nature of traveler information, and the challenges of moving through a crowded terminal, this is a perfect fit for what we do.”

Aira provides subscription-based services to its customers, who purchase minutes similar when using a cell phone plan. However, MEM’s partnership with Aira means the airport will offer free usage of the Aira service while travelers are at the airport.

Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, added, “We are extremely excited about this program and the additional accessibility it provides to blind and low-vision passengers.”

Written by Kirstie Pickering

October 20, 2017