Silicon Valley, located in the Southern San Franciso Bay Area, is renowned as the tech capital of the world. A hub for tech startups and tech giants alike. Google, Apple and Facebook are among those that reside in Silicon Valley. With drone innovation becoming a rapidly growing industry, a team of drone researchers in Switzerland have created their own innovative hub, known as ‘Drone Valley’. Like Silicon Valley for tech startups, the purpose of this space will be to develop and nurture new drone technology and innovation, as well as to create “a worldwide drone ecosystem supporting & catalyzing drones initiative”. Drone Valley is located somewhere between the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich.
One company who has worked in the Drone Valley is Wingtra. Wingtra is a Swiss company that develops drones which are able to take off and land vertically, known as VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) drones. Of its unique design, Founder and CEO of Wingtra, Maximilian Boosfeld says “Our fixed-wing drone covers surfaces bigger than a quadcopter, and it can take high-resolution pictures because it is equipped with very sophisticated cameras.”
The drones that were developed by Boosfeld and his team at Wingtra were part of a research project at the Swiss Federal Technology Insitute in Zurich with the main purpose of mapping and surveying. Boosfeld credits Drone Valley as being part of their success in innovation, saying: “In this area, we are really good; so much so that there are firms leaving the USA to join us here in what we call ‘Drone Valley'”.
Wingtra is not the only business to flourish and grow in the Drone Valley, there has been success story after success story coming from startups who have worked at Drone Valley. It has been reported that in the last few years, Drone Valley has helped generate over 2500 new jobs in the drone industry and has seen over 80 firms globally relocate to join this collaborative space.
Unlike many countries, who are strengthening laws against the use of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles, Switzerland’s legislation allows freedom for researchers in this industry. Ultimately, this has allowed Switzerland to be the leader in drone technology and innovation. “The federal government intends to maintain the pioneer role and wants to see this industry grow further. For anyone working in the sector, that means being able to work with an open-minded government that knows about the needs of research and development, avoiding the nuisance of red tape,” says Boosfeld.
With such a powerful creative space in the drone industry, who knows what new and exciting innovations we will see from drones coming out of Drone Valley. Needless to stay, with the ways things are shaping up at Drone Valley, this will definitely be an interesting space to watch.