He said Adasky has already had conversations with potential users who see benefits in ensuring high-profile CEOs and senior government officials are not in proximity to anyone who has a fever.

The camera is the same used for automotive purposes. What’s changed is the software. Normally, it detects heat at ranges needed for automotive applications, but the camera was tweaked to work at short ranges and focus on taking temperatures from a specific body part, typically the head. The cameras can work passively from afar — they don’t need to be held — and they can gather temperature information simultaneously on anyone in their field of view, avoiding the need for queues of people waiting to be scanned.

At mass scale, Shaharabani says it’s possible the cameras would cost less than $100 each.

Only a month ago, he would never have envisioned such a new line of prospective business. On March 23, AdaSky inked its first major automotive deal for its thermal-sensing technology. Though he could not disclose the automaker, Shaharabani said the deal is with an electric vehicle automaker producing a Level 4 automated vehicle.

Long focused on sensor configurations that have included only radar, lidar and traditional optical cameras, automakers and others in the self-driving industry have taken a closer look at thermal-sensing technology over the past year as a potential way to address scenarios that still vex self-driving systems.

Shaharabani stresses the company remains focused on its automotive offerings. But amid a suddenly uncertain future for the industry in general and autonomous vehicles in particular, he’s excited to explore the public-health realm and help make a difference in the fight against the coronavirus.

“It’s a very different business model and market, but the need is urgent, and we will do whatever is needed in order to save lives,” he said. “We think we can definitely save lives. And the beauty of being a startup is the agility and ability to move very fast. That’s what we’re doing now.”