10 reasons why

How did Switzerland become the world's leading location for the development of core technology and high-end applications for drones?

World-class education and research

Among the best universities worldwide in the field of engineering and technology, the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and Zurich (ETH) and the University of Zurich are at the forefront of flying robotics and unmanned systems. Renowned for their practical orientation, the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences are very strong in training engineers.

Successful peer companies

Switzerland is home to a thriving community of drone-related companies, from established manufacturers to component suppliers, high-end application providers, and innovative start-ups.

Close ties between research and industry

The National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics brings together leading experts from EPFL, ETH, University of Zurich, Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research, and the University of Bern. It supports start-ups and SMEs, encourages entrepreneurship and promotes spin-off creation in the field of robotics.

Pioneering role in drone traffic management

Swiss air navigation service provider skyguide joined forces with AirMap to introduce Europe’s first drone traffic control system. It will be the first national deployment of U-space, Europe’s vision for the digital infrastructure that will support safe and secure access to European skies for millions of drones. Phase-in began in June 2018.

Business-friendly regulations

The Swiss regulatory authorities are innovation-friendly, progressive and pragmatic. For example, companies have been granted anytime/anywhere BVLOS authorizations and are currently flying BVLOS missions in Switzerland.

Sizeable pool of expert technologists

Switzerland attracts the best talent from around the world thanks to its unparalleled quality of life. Tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Disney, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have chosen Switzerland for their R&D locations because of the high availability of engineers and other specialists.

Possibility to test-fly drones throughout Switzerland

Companies can try out their innovations right at their doorstep: on the outskirts of cities, in innovation parks, and on military and civilian airfields.

Unrivalled expertise in robotics and microsystems

Inspired by its centuries-long watchmaking heritage, Switzerland has developed unique know-how in the fields of precision mechanics, microelectronics, and robotics. The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) is specialized in microsystems design, process, integration and packaging, as well as nanosurface and biosurface engineering.

Birthplace of PX4 (Pixhawk)

The open source software developed at ETH Zurich has become the gold standard for drone control. The core of a global community of around 400 active developers is located in Switzerland.

A one-stop shop for drone operators

DronePole will be the most advanced research, test, and certification center for autonomous flying vehicles when it opens its doors in 2019.

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Selected peer companies

Drone companies

Aerotain
aerotain.com
AgroFly
agrofly.ch
Auterion
auterion.com
Autoflight
Daedalean
daedalean.ai
Drone Harmony
droneharmony.com
Ewatt Aerospace
ewattuav.com
Flarm
flarm.com
Flyability
flyability.com
Flying Robots
flying-robots.com
Fotokite
fotokite.com
Gamaya
gamaya.com
INVOLI
involi.com
Lémantech Labs
lemantechlabs.net
Matternet
mttr.net
MotionPilot
motionpilot.ch
Picterra
picterra.ch
Pix4D (Parrot Group)
pix4d.com
Rapyuta Robotics
rapyuta-robotics.com
senseFly (Parrot Group)
sensefly.com
Sony
sony.ch
Sulzer & Schmid Labs
sulzer-schmid-labs.ch
Sunflower Labs
sunflower-labs.com
UAVenture
uaventure.com
Verity Studios
veritystudios.com
WeControl
wecontrol.ch
WeRobotics
werobotics.org
WindShape
windshape.ch
Wingtra
wingtra.com

Component providers

Distran
www.distran.ch
Fixposition
www.fixposition.ch
Insightness
www.insightness.com
Leica Geosystems (Hexagon Group)
leica-geosystems.com
RELASYS
relasys.ch
Sensima Inspection
www.sensimainsp.com
Sensirion
www.sensirion.com
SkyAware/Zurichsense
zurichsense.com
STMicroelectronics
www.st.com

Events

Discover the latest innovations and meet the greatest drone specialists

This event organized by the Swiss Rotor Sport Association and the EPFL’s Aéropoly association has the ambition to become an unmissable event in the world of flying robotics, for the general public and specialists alike.

Venue: EPFL, Lausanne

Organized by NCCR Robotics, the event offers the chance to learn about investment opportunities and state-of-the-art technology spin-offs and SMEs. Participants will also experience cutting-edge technology demonstrations and will be able to discuss future trends in robotics with the experts. Start-ups and researchers will have the opportunity to create business links and forge new contacts.

Venue: SwissTech Convention Center, Lausanne

Projects

Future-oriented and tech-savvy, Switzerland is an ideal breeding ground for drone-related projects.

Auterion

Auterion is bringing open source robotics to the enterprise. This Greater Zurich-based start-up enables a new industry by connecting the community of PX4 developers, contributors, and companies and creating better technology the open source way. Today, the company is at the core of the ecosystem and their solutions extend beyond drones to autonomous robots.

Flyability

EPFL spinoff Flyability created Elios, the first collision-tolerant drone designed for the inspection and exploration of the most inaccessible places. Elios is used in the field by several special law enforcement units in Europe and the Middle East and notably the RAID, which was involved in all recent crises that affected France.

WindShape Center

Located at the heart of Switzerland’s booming drone ecosystem, DronePole will host the WindShape Center, a revolutionary multi-purpose facility for testing and certifying drones indoors in real and controlled flight conditions, including weather, shear, gusts, vertical and side winds. The facility will also serve the automotive and aviation industry. A basic unit, WindShaper 1, was delivered to Caltech and NASA in October 2017.

Yuneec

Yuneec is a world-leading manufacturer of commercial and consumer drones headquartered in Hong Kong. Since 2016, Yuneec has operated a technology center in Greater Zurich to work on highly integrated computer vision and obstacle avoidance as well as advanced flight control algorithms, enabling the next generation of intelligent drones.

Testimonials

Switzerland, home of drones

Kevin Sartori, co-founder, Auterion

“The world’s leading location for drone technology”

In recent years, Switzerland has developed into the world’s leading location for the development of core technology for drones, i.e. autopilots and sensors.

Chris Anderson, CEO, 3D Robotics

“Switzerland is the Silicon Valley of Robotics.”

Dario Floreano, Director, Swiss National Center of Competence and Research Robotics

“From sensors to human interaction”

We now practically cover the entire spectrum of technology for small drones: sensors and control, mechatronics, mechanical design, communication, and human interaction.

Benoit Curdy, Secretary General, Global UTM Association

“A model of pragmatism and flexibility”

The regulation of drones in Switzerland is a model of pragmatism and flexibility that allows for the growth of drone companies, while keeping the safety of everyone as a top priority. This is made possible by the scope and frequency of the collaborations between academia, industry and authorities.

Jiang Wenyan, Founder and Chairman, Yuneec

“An outstanding drone ecosystem”

The innovative environment in Greater Zurich is unique. We can work with leading universities such as ETH Zurich and recruit excellent engineers. Greater Zurich’s outstanding drone ecosystem also includes key industrial partners and an active PX4 open-source software developer community.

Victor Paciura, Overseas Sales Director, Ewatt Aerospace

“Access to talent and business-friendly environment”

Because of its huge pool of talented people and the business-friendly environment, we chose Greater Zurich as our European headquarters.

Latest news

Find out about the latest drone developments in Switzerland

24 July 2019|

Precision agriculture startup Gamaya raises CHF 12 million

An EPFL spinoff active in precision agriculture, Gamaya has completed a CHF 12 million financing round and is now entering its commercialization phase.

Read More
22 July 2019|

Flybotix introduces a new type of drone

The EPFL startup Flybotix has built a new type of drone, with a propulsion system consisting of only two propellers.

Read More
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