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The Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRC)

The Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre of the DDPS (SDRC DDPS) supports the Swiss Armed Forces and other authorities by introducing unmanned systems for national safety and security. It is the governmental specialist authority for questions regarding drones and robot technology in terms of their threat and potential for the Swiss national security.

Research & innovation

Eine futuristische Libelle steht unter einem Mikroskop, auf dem W+T eingraviert ist. Die Libelle steht auf einem Glas, das die Umrisse der Schweiz hat.

The SDRC DDPS is part of armasuisse Science and Technology (ar S+T) and manages the research programme «Unmanned systems/ robotics». Apart from its research focus, the SDRC is committed to Swiss robotic innovations for safety and security.
 

ARCHE

Drohnenaufnahme aller Beteiligten der Arche, welche im Halbkreis stehen, im Hintergrund ist der Schreitbagger Menzi Muck zu sehen.

The goal of our yearly event called ARCHE (Advanced Robotic Capabilities for Hazardous Environments) is to assess the degree of technological maturity and the practical suitability of Swiss robotics for disaster relief.

 

Infrastructure

ARCHE 2018 Rettungsroboter

As a part of armasuisse S+T, the SDRC DDPS possesses unique access to equipment and infrastructures for testing and assessing robotic systems.

Technology transfer & operations

Eine Person steht an einem Tisch, vor ihr auf dem Tisch steht ein kleiner Roboter mit Rädern. Das Bild ist in der Mitte gesplitet. Auf der linken Seite trägt die Person einen blauen Laboranzug und eine Hygienemaske. Sie hält ein Gerät an den Roboter. Auf der rechten Seite trägt die Person einen militärischen Kampfanzug. Hinter ihr wird ein Brand gelöscht.

The aim is to transfer promising robotic platforms from research and innovation into the field more frequently and in a more efficient manner. The intension is for robots on land, in the air and in the water to support the emergency services in performing their missions.

ARDET

Drohne vor dem Abheben auf dem Boden

ARDET (Advanced Robotic Detachement) is a task force for rapid deployment of the Swiss Armed Forces, which is supported by new robotic platforms from the SDRC in order to cope with extraordinary and especially hazardous events.

SAB & partners

Auf der Schweizer Karte sind die verschiedenen Partner des SDRZ gekennzeichnet.

The SDRC DDPS is supported by the Strategic Advisory Board (SAB), which consists of leading figures from the Swiss Armed Forces, Swiss research institutions and the Swiss industry.. The expertise and contributions from these board members are of great value to the SDRC DDPS to act and grow as aspecialist authority.

Statement on autonomous weapons systems

Based on international law and moral reasoning, the SDRC deliberately does not conduct research which uses autonomous weapon systems. Research is conducted in order to assess the threat and risk posed by such technologies. Research is also conducted in order to evaluate our defence capabilities and effective countermeasures for such weapon systems.

cf. Arms Control and Disarmament Strategy 2022–2025

Team

The team,  Joseph Boucher, Dr Tonya Müller, Pascal Vörös, Dr Markus Höpflinger, Kai Holtmann, Marc Avondet
Left to right: Joseph Boucher, Dr Tonya Müller, Pascal Vörös, Dr Markus Höpflinger, Kai Holtmann, Marc Avondet

The SDRC currently consists of a small team of six. The SDRC accomplishes its tasks with the support of the colleagues from armasuisse S+T as well as the network of Swiss robotic research and industry.

Web articles

13.07.2022

ARCHE 2022 - Swiss robotics for the disaster relief of the future
Anymal is inspected by members of the army

ARCHE is the largest Swiss event for studying robots intended for use in disaster relief. The event took place for the fifth time at the training village in Wangen an der Aare from 4 to 8 July 2022. Around 150 persons from the Armed Forces, science, industry and armasuisse were on the ground to test the latest technology in a realistic environment and for the purposes of disaster relief.

17.06.2022

Handover of diving robot to the Swiss Armed Forces
The core team of the project (Captain Kim Rindlisbacher (EOD diver), Jonas Wüst (Tethys Robotics), Kai Holtmann (SDRC DDPS), Lieutenant Colonel Reto Schaffner (EOD Command)) at handover.

The Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre of armasuisse Science + Technology is carrying out research on a diving robot together with Tethys Robotics from ETH Zurich and the Command Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Demining (EOD). After about two years of cooperation with EOD, the first prototype was handed over to the divers of the EOD Command on 30/5/2022.

18.05.2022

SDRC Video Podcast
Illustration debris field with excavator, anymal, robot, drones and people

A video podcast of the Digital Society Initiative (DSI)and the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRC DDPS) of armasuisse Science and Technology addresses the question of why the Swiss Armed Forces could one day also deploy rescue robots. Here, the technical, ethical and legal issues involved are also explained.

01.02.2022

Ethics in the use of autonomous robot systems
Pascal Vörös, on the left in the picture, and Daniel Trusilo, on the right in the picture, sit opposite each other on a staircase in the army village of Wangen an der Aare.

Who bears the responsibility for what autonomous systems do and decide? Daniel Trusilo explores the use of autonomous robotic systems in the conflict environment. In a video interview, he talks about why we need to think about ethics in the use of autonomous robot systems in security applications.

24.01.2022

Handover of robotised construction machine to army
Seven persons, both in civilian as well as orange protective clothing, stand in a debris basin of the SBB in front of the automated Armeno caterpillar excavator.

On 16 December 2021, armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T) handed over a robotised construction machine to the training unit Engineer/Rescue/ABC of the Swiss Armed Forces. The handover took place as part of an experiment between the SBB, ETH Zurich, armasuisse S+T and other partners. In the process, the remote-controlled and computer-aided deployment of this construction machine for excavating material from a debris basin was demonstrated.


The Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRC) Feuerwerkerstrasse 39
3602 Thun
Tel.
+41 58 468 27 78

E-Mail

Head of the SDRC, Dr Markus Höpflinger

Drone Defence Bure 2021

Broadcast in «Einstein»

Keyvisual Einstein

The SRF science broadcast «Einstein» explored the question of how drones and robots save lives. Among others, the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre of armasuisse W+T took part in the broadcast.

Watch here