Greater Zurich Area provides test field for drones

The Schmerlat Airfield in the canton of Schaffhausen is being made available to companies and higher education institutions for testing new drone technologies. The startup Daedalean and the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil have already explored the site with their drones.

Daedalean demonstrated a drone equipped with an autopilot in Schaffhausen. Image credit: Economic Promotion of the Canton of Schaffhausen

The canton of Schaffhausen and the Economic Promotion of the Canton of Schaffhausen are joining forces with the Schaffhausen Gliding Group (SGS) and the Municipality of Neunkirch. Their aim is to establish Schmerlat Airfield as a test center for drone technologies. Switzerland is already a leader in the droning industry. However, until now there has been a lack of places where this new technology can be used under real conditions, it was reported in a press release. This gap is now to be closed.

In 2018, successful tests were carried out with a self-driving bus in the Canton of Schaffhausen. “Companies should be able to use their developments with us, not only on the road as with the self-driving bus, but also in the air,” said state councilor Martin Kessler at the press conference at Schmerlat Airfield in Neunkirch.

The Zurich startup Daedalean and the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR) have already trialed the test site at Schmerlat Airfield. Daedalean demonstrated a drone equipped with an autopilot that, thanks to artificial intelligence, can independently avoid a moving car and land safely. The HSR presented a logistics application with a transport drone.

“We are delighted with the flexibility and the support of the authorities here. We would be delighted if we could test and develop our drones here in the canton of Schaffhausen. We are already talking about this,” said Boris Videnov, System Engineer at Daedalean. The canton is reportedly also in talks with other companies wishing to start their tests in Neunkirch this year.

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