Dübendorf - A testing arena for autonomous drones is being set up in hangar 9 on the former grounds of Dübendorf Air Base. Over the long term, a certification site for commercial drones will be established. Three universities are involved in project LINA.

Innovation Park Zurich gains drone testing arena
Obstacle course for drones: For the first time in 2022, an autonomously flying quadrotor from Davide Scaramuzza's team defeated two human professional drone pilots in a race. Image: Regina Sablotny

In hangar 9 at the Innovation Park Zurich on the former site of Dübendorf Air Base, Swiss high-tech test facility provider LINA is establishing a testing site for autonomous vehicles in the air and on land. The acronym LINA stands for "shared Large-scale Infrastructure for the Development and Safe Testing of Autonomous Systems". The University of Zurich is involved in the project together with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and the Zurich University of the Arts

Project Lead Brigitte Rohner comments in the press release by the University of Zurich: “LINA will provide the infrastructure for safe testing of autonomous systems in the canton of Zurich as well as for fundamental research up to the development of marketable systems by industry.” A group of researchers led by UZH professor Davide Scaramuzza is currently testing smart quadcopters, which could be used to look for earthquake survivors or to inspect defective bridges, for instance.

LINA provides the infrastructure for safe testing of autonomous systems, as well as for fundamental research up to the development of marketable systems by industry.
Brigitte Rohner - Project Lead, LINA

Scaramuzza explains: “However, there are still several hurdles to overcome with this. We need more efficient sensing algorithms for fast-flying drones.” The drones must also be tested not just inside the hangar but also in the wind and other weather conditions outside. Over the long term, LINA aims to establish a certification site for commercially used drones. This includes plans for setting up various testing arenas in the internal and external areas.

The new testing arena is the most recent drone technology element in the Greater Zurich Area. The region is the world's leading location for the development of core technology (software, autopilot, sensors) for drones and in commercial applications. The American company Matternet regularly conducts test flights of its logistics drones at the glider airfield at Schmerlat in Neukirch in the canton of Schaffhausen and is to launch the world's longest urban drone delivery route in Zurich. Furthermore, the Swiss Drone Base Camp at Switzerland Innovation Parc Ticino provides the Greater Zurich Area with another drone competence center. hs

The Silicon Valley of robotics and intelligent systems

The Silicon Valley of robotics and intelligent systems

The Greater Zurich Area continues to be a global leader in robotics, drone 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 and intelligent systems companies. Multinationals, SMEs and startups that are in Greater Zurich enjoy a high availability of talent. This is thanks to a plethora of renowned higher education institutions in the region. 

Robotik und Intelligente Systeme in der Greater Zurich Area

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