Who is SUSI? “It is all about boosting new technologies”

“We are living in a privileged time and have the opportunity to write a page of history in the revolution of mobility. Any revolution brings challenges and opportunities.”

Francine Zimmermann, Head of Policy and Regulation – Swiss FOCA


SUSI is a Public-Private Partnership launched in December 2018 with the overarching goal to integrate drones into the airspace in a safe and secure way, enforcing collaboration, pushing progress, quality and innovation.

Why did we start?

The increasing number of drones in the airspace is expected to dramatically transform air traffic: There are more and more commercial uses of drones, such as package delivery, environmental monitoring, mapping, disaster relief and traffic management. Furthermore, drone technology has become smaller and more affordable for civil use, and many people have now begun flying drones recreationally.

Against this background, the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) established a U-Space Program to develop a regulatory framework for a national U-Space in Switzerland. There is a range of best practices informing this regulatory process: internationally recognized standards, firm business models and best operational and technological actions are three central layers of it.

However, as one can imagine, with the increase of drones in the airspace, U-Space operational scenarios, services, technologies and capabilities are getting increasingly complex. For example, recent studies estimate that there will be demand for over 170,000 package-delivery drone flights per hour in Paris by the year 2035, with some urban areas projected to see a 200-fold increase in the number of UAS-flights. These numbers are stunning – but also challenging, especially when it comes to the deployment of the mature technologies with considerations to safety and security aspects.

And this is why SUSI was created.

SUSI – Stands for “Swiss U-Space Implementation”, a Public-Private Partnership launched in December 2018 between FOCA, the Swiss Air Navigation Provider skyguide and a varied range of market players from the industry. These players include U-Space Service Providers, Supplemental Data Providers, Technology Providers and Drone, Ground Control Station or Flight control manufactures. Indeed, the list of SUSI-members might seem to be manifold, but not an overarching vision that embraces this diversity of these stakeholders.


Collaboration – SUSI members jointly identify, quantify, conduct, and effectively implement innovative capabilities and technologies for U-Space.

Progress – SUSI’s philosophy is fed by three simple words: Enable. Experiment. Enlighten. Being part of SUSI means being embedded in an ecosystem, where a nascent industry can grow. It means experimentations around new technologies. It also means a steady regulatory assessment, which leads to enlightened processes and guarantee the safe conduct of operation. We agree: It is all about boosting new technologies!


Quality – The partnership provides a high-level assurance tool where member’s innovative ideas become reality. SUSI captures the best companies in the field, which not only fosters competitiveness, but also promotes innovation and high-quality standards.


Know-how – SUSI provides a testbed, where complex scenarios, services, technologies and capabilities are researched and finally demonstrated in a protected “sandbox” environment. In doing so, the industry gains necessary experience and shares evolutions and challenges to support the implementation of U-Space.


Upscaling – The Swiss U-Space does not end at the national borders, on the contrary. FOCA will take all necessary actions at an international level that the Swiss U-Space framework is extended on a European and global level. In fact, SUSI members collaboratively influence the development of U-Space in Switzerland and are therefore part of a bigger global ecosystem.


Impact – All experiences and lessons learned are communicated and finally deployed by means of effective national legislations with respect to safety and security aspects. The future will clearly point to the implementation of a sustainable and persistent system.