First-ever drone race held at an embassy
Following the successful first Swiss Innovation Week in 2018, the Embassy of Switzerland in China organized the second edition of the Swiss Innovation Week from June 12 to 14, 2019 under the title “Home of Drones”. On June 14, a Grand Reception took place to close this exciting week with a lot of surprises for the guests to live a unique experience. swissnex China, in partnership with the embassy and Drone Grand Prix (DGP), organized the first ever drone race inside an embassy compound and the first-ever in Beijing's No-Fly-Zone.
Drones represent one of the success areas of the Swiss new technologies. Switzerland is indeed a forerunner in the development of specialized drones, particularly for the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This can in part be explained by the close collaboration between the federal institutes of technology, the industry and the public authorities. More than 2,500 people in over 80 companies in Switzerland now work in digital aviation and in 2017 Swiss Post launched the world's first medical delivery service for business customers in Lugano.
The Drone Grand Prix race (DGP) that took place at the Swiss Embassy in Beijing on June 14, 2019 showed just how much Switzerland is at the forefront of drone technologies.
A track race designed especially for the occasion was set up over the perimeter of Embassy, going through the Embassy buildings and the Ambassadors’ residence. It consisted of LED and light loops which illuminated the venue and through which the drones flew.
The drone race confronted two Swiss and two Chinese pilots for a friendly competition. They were flying the drones with a system called first person view (FPV), which is the most popular commanding method as it allows to pilot a drone as if one was inside of it. First-person view goggles allowed 20 guests at the same time to watch the drone race as if they were flying the drones by themselves.
The DGP drones can reach up to 200km/h, which can prove to be dangerous for the average drone user who may easily lose control of the device. It takes a great amount of training and expertise to be able to fly the drones with such precision at this speed! On this note, swissnex China would like to congratulate the highly skilled pilots for their outstanding performance.
The race was groundbreaking in many ways. It was the first drone race ever held in an Embassy compound, and the first one to ever take place in Beijing city center. The event proved to be a big success, with over 1000 guests attending. The race was also live-streamed and attracted over 51,000 viewers across various broadcasting platforms, as well as 1.2 million views on the China Central Television (CCTV) - CGTN livestream! The impactful extravaganza has since been aired to 849,771,644 households by 15 broadcasters from 168 countries including international sports TV networks such as FOX sports Asia,BT sport Bein TV, Edge TV. etc.
The event organised by swissnex China was a great opportunity to put Swiss know-how in drone technologies on the map, with the aim of supporting the internationalisation of our startups and innovation programmes in this field.