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.
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 2020.
Selected peer companies
Discover the latest innovations and meet the greatest drone specialists
Future-oriented and tech-savvy, Switzerland is an ideal breeding ground for drone-related projects.
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.
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.
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 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.
Switzerland, home of drones
Kevin Sartori, co-founder, Auterion
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
Dario Floreano, Director, Swiss National Center of Competence and Research Robotics
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
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
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
Because of its huge pool of talented people and the business-friendly environment, we chose Greater Zurich as our European headquarters.
Find out about the latest drone developments in Switzerland
Flybotix receives a Tech Growth Loan for its indoor inspection drones
EPFL start-up Flybotix has received a Tech Growth Loan in the amount of CHF 400’000 for its drone based on a proprietary propulsion and steering technology that brings disruptive changes to the market of indoor industrial inspection drones. Drones are more and more widely used to inspect hard-to-reach and dangerous areas, but many of them […]
Windshape, swiss aeropole and CSEM partner with Boeing
Boeing partners with Western Switzerland key players Windshape, swiss aeropole and CSEM to advance the existing Swiss-based UAS ecosystem, developing critical technologies that will shape the future of the commercial and defense aerospace industry. Boeing is proposing 11 new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) research projects with partners across Switzerland’s French, Italian and German-speaking regions. The research […]