The startup project Wingtra was being accelerated at Wyss Zurich from 2016-2018.
The goal of Wingtra was to develop drones that overcome the challenges state-of-the-art drone technology was facing at that time: the ability to cover longer distances and/or to maneuver autonomously without requiring too much infrastructure such as runways, catapults, nets and large open spaces.
At Wyss Zurich, engineers, scientists and programmers developed a completely new aircraft design to overcome these challenges. The project evolved from years of research conducted at the Autonomous Systems Lab of ETH Zurich, who are leaders in the field of flying robots. A novel type of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), called Wingtra, wanted to combine the advantage of a traditional airplane and a helicopter. Just like an airplane, the wing should generate lift in forward flight, thereby allowing longer distances to be covered and heavier payloads to be carried farther. During the run of the project, the main handling burdens have been overcome by the ability to autonomously Vertically Take-Off and Land (VTOL), plus another advantage was revealed: The easy handling of the device enabled even untrained personnel to operate Wingtra and the widespread adoption of such aerial robots. This disruptive aircraft design improved inspection efficiency and thus reduces costs of linear infrastructure assets such as pipelines, railroad tracks or high-voltage lines.
During the time at Wyss Zurich, Wingtra evolved into a successful start-up: Today, Wingtra develops, produces and commercializes drones that combine the ease of use of agile multicopters with the long range of high endurance fixed-wing aircrafts. With distribution partners in 5 continents, 1000+ customer flights and a very first VTOL drone to be equipped with professional aerial photography sensors, Wingtra has become a successful international company. Their drone WingtraOne carries sensors that collect survey-grade aerial data. This technologically superior VTOL drone is used by mapping professionals in applications that range from surveying and mining to wildlife monitoring.