Robotics and intelligent systems in the Greater Zurich Area

Drone technology in Greater Zurich

Why Switzerland and Greater Zurich for international drone companies

Why Switzerland and Greater Zurich for international drone companies

Discover the advantages and regulations for international drone companies in Greater Zurich - the world's leading innovation hub.

Greater Zurich is the ideal location for international drone companies to grow and expand business, innovation, and research

The Greater Zurich Area is the world's leading location for the development of core technology (software, autopilot, sensors) for drones and commercial applications. Top universities such as ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, a large and active community of developers, numerous drone and component manufacturers, and innovation-friendly authorities make Switzerland the "Silicon Valley of robotics".

Discover the top reasons why the Greater Zurich Area is the ideal location for drone companies. 

1. World-class research & talent pool

Greater Zurich is at the forefront of research regarding robotics and drones. In numerous laboratories and in labs at world-class universities such as ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, technologies and algorithms are developed that use drones to explore a wide variety of areas such as solar energy, the environment, computer vision, mapping, or the limits of dynamic systems and controls. Universities of applied sciences such are very strong in the training of engineers, leading to a deep pool of highly-skilled and specialized talent. 

A drone from the University of Zurich that has been trained with AI has finished a drone race faster than the drones piloted by human champions. (Video: UZH Robotics and Perception Group)

2. You're in good company: Rich drone ecosystem

Greater Zurich's drone company ecosystem is highly diverse and sophisticated, pioneering worldwide drone research with its academic institutes, start-ups, and industry collaborations. 

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3. Close ties between research and industry

Collaboration between research and industry in Switzerland is strong and highly promoted. The National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) for Robotics connects leading experts from universities and research institutes such as the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research with innovative companies and start-ups. Entrepreneurship is encouraged and promotes the creation of successful spin-offs. 

Join the Silicon Valley of Robotics

Join the Silicon Valley of Robotics

Are you ready to join the Silicon Valley of Robotics in the Greater Zurich Area? 

We help you with tailor-made services and industry-specific insights to guide companies in their business expansion journey - all free of charge.

Lukas Sieber Teaser
Greater Zurich offers highly skilled and diverse engineering talent, a strong ecosystem in drone technology, solid international connections, and an unrivaled quality of life. This made it the ideal location for Auterion, a deep-tech company focused on international customers.
Kevin Sartori
Kevin Sartori - Co-founder of Auterion

4. Leading global software companies

The drone ecosystem also benefits from the leading position of the Greater Zurich Area as a hub for information technologies with a very large talent pool of software developers. Companies such as Google, Microsoft HoloLens, Disney, Oculus (acquired by Meta), and Dacuda (acquired by Magic Leap) are active in the area of computer vision. Related ecosystems are mutually fertilizing.

5. Pioneering drone-traffic management

Swiss regulatory and supervisory authorities are progressive and pragmatic and they are in constant contact with the industry concerned. They think and act according to the basic attitude: to regulate without hindering innovation. In 2018, Swiss air navigation service provider Skyguide introduced Europe's first drone traffic control system. The U.S. and Switzerland announced in 2020 a joint effort to co-develop harmonized standards for the safe use and integration of unmanned aircraft into civilian airspace.

Matternet's success story in Greater Zurich

Matternet's success story in Greater Zurich

Matternet runs the world's longest urban drone route over Zurich

The U.S. company Matternet is the leading developer of commercial drone delivery systems for urban and suburban environments. In 2017, Matternet became the first company in the world to be authorized for commercial BVLOS operations of drone logistics networks over cities in Switzerland and has since been running the world's longest urban drone delivery route in Zurich.

We asked Oliver Evans, Head of Global Busines Strategy at Matternet, about their successful expansion into Greater Zurich.

Why did Matternet choose Switzerland?

Why did Matternet choose Switzerland?

Greater Zurich Area Ltd: Why did you choose Switzerland to expand your activities? 

Oliver Evans: Switzerland was chosen for several compelling reasons: first and foremost, the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) had taken (and maintains) a globally leading role in developing a robust regulatory frame for safe, beneficial drone operations. Ever since our first BVLOS flights in Switzerland in 2014, FOCA and Matternet have had a fruitful and exciting collaboration leading to a number of commercial global firsts. 

Secondly, Switzerland is home to outstanding academic institutes like ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, which lead the world in relevant fields like robotics, and we have collaborated extensively over the years. 

Additionally, although Switzerland is a relatively small country, it is home to an extraordinary number of companies that are global leaders in their respective industries: pharmaceuticals, banking, specialized engineering, etc. It has an excellent reputation for the robustness of its safety and quality culture, and thus successful implementation of services in Switzerland accelerates the adoption also across the world.

How do drone companies benefit from the local ecosystem?

How do drone companies benefit from the local ecosystem?

Greater Zurich Area Ltd:  How do U.S. (drone) companies benefit from the local ecosystem? 

Oliver Evans: Achieving our goals is an extraordinarily complex undertaking, involving close collaboration and creativity of a wide range of stakeholders. The size and sophistication of the Swiss market enable a dialogue and concertation towards practical goals which is peerless in the world. 

We cannot control and implement our program without reaching and engaging key decision-makers in a wide range of stakeholders from the world of politics and industry. Greater Zurich Area Ltd has helped open many such channels of communication, as well as providing invaluable guidance and assistance as we opened our office and commenced operations.

Robotics & intelligent systems in the Greater Zurich Area

Robotics & intelligent systems in the Greater Zurich Area

The Greater Zurich Area continues to be a global leader in roboticsdrone technology and computer vision. There are close ties in the region between the industry, world-class universities and researchers and innovation-friendly authorities. This has driven revolutionary advancements, attracted leading technology firms and talent and encouraged entrepreneurship in the region, leading to unmatched opportunities for robot technology companies.

Robotik und Intelligente Systeme in der Greater Zurich Area