News Overview

An autonomous drone to speed up the search for avalanche victims

Author: Switzerland Innovation Park Network West EPFL

Nivitec has been developing a drone that independently locates people swept away by snowfalls. The start-up has just received a CHF 149,000 grant from Gebert Rüf Foundation that will enable it to continue working on its business project.

In Switzerland, an average of 25 people die each year from avalanches and after 18 minutes of burial, the chances of survival drop to 55%. Nivitec wants to fight the first enemy of a rescue mission: time.

Founded by former students of the School of Engineering and the School of Management of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis, the start-up has developed an autonomous drone for faster detection of avalanche victims. It provides rescuers with a quicker and safer tool that reduces search time and search-related risks. The drone optimizes the search time of avalanche victims and increases their chances of survival tenfold by limiting the risk incurred by mountain rescue professionals.