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New digital pet monitor helps keep animals safe on airplanes

Technology company Unisys has a new way for pet owners to detect and even keep in touch with their furry family members when flying.

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Airlines have rules and standards for the safe transport of animals, but technology can pet owners more at ease.

Technology company Unisys has a new way for pet owners to detect and even keep in touch with their furry family members when flying. The new Digi-Pet system, unveiled during the Cargo World Congress of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Dallas last week, makes use of sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) to keep animals safe.

Sensors to monitor environmental factors such as temperature, oxygen level, vibration, and light. The Digi-Pet system will automatically send alerts to the pet owners and the crew if there are problems, while the animal is traveling in the hold.

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By means of a subscription service, Digi-Pet also allows pet owners to stay in contact with their pets by means of live streaming of video, photos and voice at trade shows, via an app that works on smartphones and tablets.

“We are emotionally attached to our pets and it can be frightening to be separated from them by traveling through the air,” said Venkatesh Pazhyanur, senior industry director of transportation Solutions for Unisys. “Large pets — whether accompanied or not — must travel in the cargo hold. Unisys Digi-Pet uses IoT sensors to provide pet owners with full visibility of their pet, the comfort and the environmental conditions, as well as enabling them to talk with their pet — calming both pet and owner.”

Despite the recent incidents of abuse, airlines have standards they must meet in the care and transport of live animals. IATA’s Live Animals Regulations (LAR) are imposed by the local authorities. Airlines have taken action to improve the treatment of animals and live animals. In 2015, Delta Air Lines introduced a pet-tracking system that uses GPS to determine the exact location of pets, and also monitors environmental conditions.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to monitor airlines performance and publishes consumer reports that offer all sorts of useful information, including the airlines in the archives of the abuse of animals. Consumers can review these reports to evaluate an airline for booking a ticket. USDOT also has a special page for pet owners, offering useful travel tips.

IATA also has a pet corner with useful information for the flyers.

The Animal Welfare Institute has also a good background information about the legislation relating to the safe transport of animals by air.

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