S Korea deploys 5G tech for coronavirus check at airport

South Korea has introduced mobile edge computing (MEC) technology at Incheon International Airport to operate an artificial intelligence (AI) system that screens potential Covid-19 patients in a move to step up preventative measures against the pandemic.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said the system will check for passengers without masks or with COVID-19 symptoms, such as high temperature, at the arrival and departure halls of the country’s main gateway, located west of Seoul, using digital kiosks and video surveillance.

The system can also send out autonomous robots for disinfection.

The ministry said the system incorporates MEC technology, which minimises latency by sending data to nearby small-scale data centres, rather than to a centralised data centre, reports Yonhap news agency.

SK Telecom Co., the country’s largest wireless carrier, has installed millimeter wave (mmWave) band 5G base stations at the airport to operate the service, which will also use the company’s new AI chip, the SAPEON X220.

While 5G users have reached around 10 million in South Korea since its commercialisation of the latest generation network in April last year, the country is in the early stage of rolling out mmWave 5G services that take full advantage of the network’s high speed and low latency.

Rival carrier LG Uplus Corp. is currently testing mmWave 5G at the Kumoh National Institute of Technology in Gumi, about 200 kms south of Seoul.