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Switzerland assumes pioneering role in drone technology

The Swiss drone industry is the largest in the world as measured by market size per capita, the Swiss Drone Industry Report reveals. Developments within the industry are above all being driven by start-ups and universities. Moreover, the sector also benefits from a favorable regulatory framework.

Drone
A Swiss Post drone over Zurich. Image credit: Swiss Post

Switzerland is assuming a global pioneering role with its drone industry, the first Swiss Drone Industry Report has revealed. According to the report, which was published by the   Drone Industry Association Switzerland (DIAS), Switzerland ranks in first place globally in terms of market size per capita.

Exports driving growth

In the current year, the Swiss drone industry looks likely to hit a market value of 521 million Swiss francs. The report assumes that this value will rise to 879 million francs by 2026. This growth is being driven by exports to the USA and Europe, with products worth 233 million francs set to be exported in the current year. In this context, the export shares are likely to be very high for both hardware (89 percent) and software (96 percent) in particular.

Universities constitute hubs

Two hubs centered on the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) are above all the driving force behind the Swiss drone ecosystem. Accordingly, a particularly high number of start-ups have been spawned by two universities that are now active in the industry. Overall, Swiss drone companies have attracted investment totaling 214.6 million Swiss francs up to now, the report states. This equates to 3 percent of global investments made in this area.

Favorable framework conditions

According to the report, Switzerland is a fertile breeding ground for drone companies. While excellent access to talented experts certainly plays a part in this, a “fairly liberal” regulatory framework is also a key factor. Moreover, the industry benefits from active regulatory support, while the advantages of the “Swiss-made” label are also outlined in the report.

Looking ahead to the future, the report recommends that Swiss drone companies should collaborate more extensively, as this could accelerate testing and consequently the introduction of new products on the market.

DIAS engaged the services of the German market research firm Drone Industry Insights to produce the Swiss Drone Industry Report. In addition to DIAS, the report was supported by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), the Swiss Aerospace Cluster as well as the investment firm BernInvest and Innovaud, the innovation and investment promotion agency for the canton of Vaud.

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