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| September 25, 2018
Will you welcome drones into your city? Within 5-10 years, consumer drone technology could majorly impact our lives in terms of convenience, accessibility, and even environmental sustainability, but the notion of a drone-saturated future still leaves many feeling concerned. The last several years have seen rapid innovation in the drone industry. Imaginative applications—like pollination drones that compensate for a dwindling bee population, humanitarian relief drones that can access previously unreachable disaster areas, and even performance drones that are already dazzling audiences alongside artists like Drake and Metallica—continue to emerge and impress.
Before the next wave of drones make their way from labs and test sites to major metropolitan areas, however, it’s worthwhile to pause and anticipate what their presence could mean for society. This October, Bostonians and drone enthusiasts from around the world will have the chance to experience firsthand the future of drones and add their voice to the conversation.
Coming to Boston
On October 8 and 9, innovators from Switzerland, the U.S., and beyond will jointly exhibit their emerging technology through talks, exhibitions, and flying demos at Aerial Futures: The Drone Frontier @ HUBweek.
The two-day public event, sponsored by Swiss Touch and organized by swissnex Boston, comes as Switzerland emerges as a leader in the drone space. “This technology doesn’t just impact those in the industry—it touches all of us,” said Christian Simm, CEO of swissnex Boston, which promotes international exchange in innovation, research, art, and technology. “With this event, our aim is to really engage not just leaders in the drone industry, but a diverse array of actors from different disciplines and backgrounds. We’re excited for people to actually experience this technology firsthand and to anticipate the future together in a meaningful way. For us, it’s about proactively facilitating the conversation.”
Switzerland’s role in the drone conversation
Switzerland is home to over 80 drone-related startups as well as world-class research programs at top universities like EPFL, ETH Zurich, and the University of Applied Sciences Zurich (ZHAW). The prominence of drone innovation in the country prompted swissnex Boston to conduct Aerial Futures: The Drone Frontier, a program series that highlights key players at the forefront of drone technology and the major societal shifts that could come as a result of the growing drone industry. The effort illustrates a uniquely Swiss approach to building the future; a commitment to innovation and technological progress coupled with a thoughtfulness about the impact that technology could have on society.
For years, Switzerland has held the number 1 spot in the Global Innovation Index (GII). When it comes to drones in particular, the growth is partially the result of a uniquely pragmatic approach to aerial regulation, which provides greater freedom in developing and testing drones than would be found in many other countries. As Switzerland continues to expand its efforts in research and innovation, swissnex Boston aims to connect the Swiss drone ecosystem with other major innovation hubs across the globe, creating an international forum for knowledge exchange where the future is built thoughtfully and cooperatively.
Be a part of the conversation
Switzerland is globally recognized for its unique ability to bring different entities together for peaceful exchange, and this effort is no exception to that value. In fact, out of the dozens of drone exhibitors coming to Aerial Futures: The Drone Frontier @ HUBweek, over half have no Swiss affiliation.
“Every perspective is important in this conversation,” said Simm. “We see ourselves as connectors. This isn’t just about getting behind a microphone and telling people about Switzerland or showing them cool drones. We aim to really spark a meaningful dialogue between local innovators, academics, policymakers, and members of the public, all together in an open, engaging atmosphere.”
The free, public event titled Aerial Futures: The Drone Frontier @ HUBweek takes place on October 8 and 9 as part of Boston’s “festival of the future”. You can find more information and get your free ticket at swissnexboston.org/HUBweek.
This event is presented by Swiss Touch, swissnex Boston, HUBweek, and District Hall with additional support from GeniusNY, swiss aeropole, Greater Zurich Area, and Greater Geneva Bern area.
Swiss Touch is an event series and social media campaign pushing Swiss innovation and creative ideas forward, through the participation of prominent Swiss and American stakeholders, a selection of compelling topics and unusual locations. Follow our journey throughout the U.S. at swisstouchusa.org.
swissnex Boston connects the dots in education, research, innovation, and in the arts between Switzerland and the USA. Our mission is to support the outreach and active engagement of our partners in the global exchange of knowledge, ideas, and talent. By crossing conventional boundaries, swissnex offers a platform to foster collaboration and creativity for inspiring research and groundbreaking innovation. Learn more at swissnexBoston.org.