Innovation Park Zurich gains drone testing arena
09 March 2023 09:17
In hangar 9 at the Innovation Park Zurich on the former site of Dübendorf Air Base, LINA is establishing a testing site for autonomous vehicles in the air and on land. According to a press release from the University of Zurich (UZH), the acronym stands for Shared Large-scale Infrastructure for the Development and Safe Testing of Autonomous Systems. It 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: “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.
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. According to a statement from the location promotion agency Greater Zurich Area AG, 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. Furthermore, the Swiss Drone Base Camp at Switzerland Innovation Parc Ticino provides the Greater Zurich Area with another drone competence center. hs