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How US airports are using robots, new technology to prepare for travelers to return

On April 14, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened only 87,534 passengers, compared to over 2 million on a normal day. Travel is slowly starting to pick up — passenger counts have been on the rise, with more than 200,000 passengers screened a few times in recent days — but the busiest air travel day in the U.S. since the pandemic caused life to screech to a halt still represented just 8% of the normal volume of air travelers. The numbers depict a stunning drop in demand.


Now, as the normally very busy summer season arrives and stay-at-home orders begin to expire or loosen, airports are preparing to welcome travelers back to the sky in a very new reality. The airport, once notorious for snaking lines, crowded lounges and a crush of humanity waiting to board all at once, may now become a place of high-tech cleaning robots, plastic shields, temperature screenings, mandatory face masks and reduced amenities.


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