The goal of the present guidelines is to clarify legal questions in relation to autonomous systems. The focus is on autonomous ground vehicles and systems for commercial purposes, potentially in operation in public spaces.
The guidelines are primarily designed for manufacturers with a strong focus on product development. These manufacturers often have limited know-how and resources available to dedicate to clarifying regulatory aspects, or to have these aspects clarified for them. With that in mind, the purpose of these guidelines is to provide an overview of the most important questions, and to serve as an entry point for a more in-depth and manufacture-specific exploration of the topic. The present guidelines are exclusively for manufacturers in Switzerland.
The Innovation Sandbox project on infrastructure maintenance by drones created high-resolution drone images to identify cracks and damage on an airport runway through image recognition.
Requests for a demo appointment with IBM Research and the Canton Zurich, as well as requests for access to the high-quality image data, can be sent to email@example.com.
Project manager Raphael von Thiessen kicked things off with an introduction to the Innovation Sandbox. He explained the purpose of the sandbox and presented the selected AI projects. The Innovation Sandbox serves as a learning environment - like a laboratory, so to speak - in which companies, organizations and administrations can test out AI projects and develop expertise in the field of AI deployment without being completely left to their own devices. This is because the Sandbox project team advises submitted projects on regulatory issues and, if requested, provides new data sources. So far, 21 projects have been submitted, most of which came from smaller companies and startups, but also research institutes and some large companies.
At the practical seminar, the six selected projects were presented and discussed together with the participants. Using Mentimeter, participants had multiple opportunities to share their thoughts. So too on the question of where they see the greatest potential for AI in the public sector. The areas of administration, knowledge transfer & management, transport, cyber security, taxes, social affairs and communications stood out. Some of the projects presented actually fall into the above areas. For example, Parquery's Smart Parking project or AI-based administrative document search. Other projects surprised with their scope of application, such as the automated correction of primary school assignments, which aims to relieve teachers in order to create more time for individual support. The question of the risks of AI in the public sector was also raised; participants considered data protection, the threat to jobs, the question of ethics and quality, but also the fear of loss of control and the misuse of AI to be particularly important.
After the introduction to the topic, the participants divided into six groups to the corresponding World Cafés:
For fifteen minutes, each table discussed the opportunities and risks of using AI, where further areas of application lie, and what needs to be considered when implementing it. If the event management had not called for a rotation after the elapsed time and a conclusion after three rotations, the discussions would probably have continued until late in the evening. It was clear that the topic is more topical than ever. The evening showed that Artificial Intelligence and its diverse applications raise many questions and need promotion in a protected setting, one like the Innovation Sandbox, where responsible innovation can emerge.
Would you like to learn more about one of the projects or even initiate a similar project in your area? Then contact the responsible project manager Raphael von Thiessen. He will be happy to discuss the topic of AI with you.
Raphael von Thiessen
Project Manager Innovation Sandbox for AI
Division of Business and Economic Development
The SVSM Awards are presented by the «Schweizerische Vereinigung für Standortmanagement (SVSM)» for targeted, effective and innovative projects in the fields of location marketing, location development and business promotion. The SVSM Awards are aimed at both small and large projects - from local to national - and aim to showcase the diversity and quality, as well as the innovative power, of projects from across the country. They are thus not only a reward but also an incentive for players in location management and business promotion; and have been since 2007.
For this year's awards, 12 applications were received from all over Switzerland - from Basel to Uri to Bad Ragaz. A jury evaluated them against established criteria and nominated the following five projects for the 2023 Awards:
However, the nomination does not mean that the applicants are guaranteed an award: in mid-September, all nominees will have the opportunity to present their projects to the jury, which will then select the award winners. The jury is composed of the following experts: Katharina Hopp, Jury President and Board Member SVSM; Ambassador Dr. Eric Jakob, Head of the Directorate for Location Promotion SECO; Pascal Jenny, President Arosa Tourism; Karin Jung, Head of Office for Economy and Labor Canton St.Gallen; Prof. Dr. Markus Schmidiger, Head of Competence Center Real Estate Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts; Sonja Wollkopf-Walt, CEO Greater Zurich Area.
The awards will be presented on Thursday, November 16, 2023, as part of the hybrid symposium «SVSM Dialog Wirtschaftsförderung» at the Capitol cinema in Olten. On this occasion, a deserving personality will also be honored as Site Manager of the Year.
«Schweizerische Vereinigung für Standortmanagement SVSM»
The SVSM is the umbrella organization of location and business development agencies in Switzerland. As such, it sees itself as a practice-oriented and independent point of contact for questions relating to location management and business development. The SVSM has around 80 members from the fields of location promotion, regional marketing, business development and real estate. The association promotes interdisciplinary exchange of experience and networking, and advocates professionalism in site management. With the event series «SVSM Dialog», SVSM organizes a semi-annual hybrid symposium with a changing focus on location management or business development. Since 2007, the organization has presented the SVSM Awards for innovative projects in the areas of location and business development and selects a deserving individual as Location Manager of the Year.
Artificial intelligence is now penetrating all areas of work and life. But what role does AI play in infrastructure maintenance? The Innovation Sandbox is addressing this question in a research project together with IBM Research and pixmap gmbh.
What is the Innovation Sandbox?
The Sandbox is a test environment for the implementation of AI projects. The Sandbox aims to promote responsible innovation by enabling the administration and participating organisations to work closely on regulatory issues and to use novel data sources.
The present guidelines provide an overview of legal aspects such as data protection and copyright, for when implementing AI applications. This document was drawn up based on a specific use case during which school pupils used a smartphone scan to automatically correct their handwritten math work and spelling exercises. Whereas these guidelines are based on the legal framework of a state school in the Canton of Zurich, the legal situation is similar in other cantons. The relevant regulations are, however, applied differently from canton to canton. While primarily directed at AI solution providers, these guidelines may also offer helpful insights to school officials as well.
As part of the InnovationSandbox for AI, IBM Research and pixmap gmbh have implemented a pilot project at the military airfield in Dübendorf to assess the potential of AI-based inspections. A drone created high-quality images of the runway in order to automatically detect damage with the help of AI models.
The findings will be used to drive forward the use of AI in the inspection and maintenance of other infrastructure elements. The image material is made available to other innovation players. With this project, the cooperation between the administration, the military, research and the private sector is contributing to the further development of the international AI location in the Zurich metropolitan area.
“Regulatory sandboxes” come in many shapes. The term itself often has various connotations. Sandboxes may be adopted in order to support innovation and the development of innovative new products, services or business models. They may contribute to fostering a services system that is more efficient and manages risks more effectively. By using sandboxes, regulators may also gain a better understanding of how emerging technologies and business models interact with the regulatory framework.
The webinar will draw on the experiences of the already functioning AI sandboxes in Norway, Spain, Switzerland and input from industry with a view to exploring various advantages they offer, consider risks and costs associated with those advantages and propose best practices that policymakers could use to mitigate them.
Link to the webinar video.
Due to rapid technological progress, the framework conditions of AI technologies are often unclear for companies, research and administration. For this reason, the Canton of Zurich's Division of Business and Economic Development, together with partners from the administration, research and business sectors, launched the "Innovation Sandbox".
This is a test environment for the implementation of AI projects. By working closely with the administration and participating organizations on regulatory issues and enabling the use of novel data sources, responsible innovation will be encouraged. The video with Ronovatec and Lonomy, which are developing autonomous farming systems, shows exactly what this can look like.
The Innovation Sandbox for Artificial Intelligence (AI) gives various organisations, including start-ups, SMEs, large companies and research institutions, access to regulatory know-how and new data sources. In return, all findings and results are shared publicly.
Different from many approaches adopted in other countries, the Innovation Sandbox for Artificial Intelligence (AI) goes a step further as the selected projects are not just being reviewed, but also being put into practice.
The goal is to promote responsible innovation based on legal and ethical criteria and to support the spread of AI in public administration, business and research.
Organisations specialised in AI had the opportunity to submit specific projects between March and June 2022. A total of 21 AI projects were submitted. The portfolio of project proposals reflects the high relevance of AI as a cross-cutting technology that transforms all sectors. The projects submitted were evaluated based on consistent and transparent criteria. Five projects were selected and are currently being implemented.
A growing number of autonomous systems such as self-driving tractors or lawn mowers will potentially be used in public spaces. In many cases, the general regulatory environment in areas such as standardization, admission to public roads or data protection are not clear to manufacturers. This project is focused on developing comprehensive guidelines that provide manufacturers with an overview of the most relevant factors.
Maintenance of infrastructure, such as bridges, roads or pylons, is often carried out by human staff. Many of the tasks involved are time-consuming and, in some cases, dangerous. This project is centred on creating high-resolution drone images to detect cracks and damage on airport runways.
Education is increasingly supported by AI, including at elementary level. The basic legal parameters , e.g. in the domain of data protection, are to some extent unclear to providers, teachers, parents and pupils. This project focuses on clarifying the legal bases for use of image recognition for the automated correction of handwritten schoolwork .
Parking management is a highly significant challenge for many cities and municipalities. Relevant data on utilization and occupancy of parking spaces is often lacking, which hinders informed decision-making on traffic planning or the introduction of parking guidance systems. AI-based image recognition can create the necessary data basis for this. In this project, privacy-by-design measures are being developed for the responsible use of camera systems in public spaces.
Many public administration offices deal with multiple languages in their daily work. The potential for machine translations is significant. As their work often involves sensitive information and use of specific technical terminology, the question arises as to whether generic and publicly accessible translation tools may and should be used. This project focuses oncoming up with recommendations for the use of machine translation. The case studies stem from the Commercial Register Office and the Integration Office.
The current pilot phase of the Innovation Sandbox for Artificial Intelligence (AI) will run until April 2024. The knowledge and insights gained from all of the selected AI projects will be made publicly available until then. The results will contribute to building competencies and facilitating knowledge transfer within public administration. The aim is to promote the innovation capabilities of AI organisations by clarifying regulatory questions and tapping into new data sources. Furthermore, suggestions for areas of action will be made if regulatory gaps are found within the specific projects.
A combination of artificial intelligence and traditional methods is intended to make everyday school life easier for teachers and maximize the learning success of students. Herby wants to make it possible to correct a worksheet in seconds with the use of artificial intelligence.
The Innovation Sandbox for AI clarifies the legal basis for automated correction of handwritten learning content. Because these are often unclear to providers, teachers, and parents.
In the video, Marco Cocuzza and Raphael von Thiessen explain the lessons learned from the Innovation Sandbox project and how Herby will now evolve.
At the hybrid symposium "SVSM Dialogue on Business Promotion", location and business promoters from all over Switzerland met in Olten. The occasion was, on the one hand, the professional exchange and networking and, on the other, the presentation of the annual SVSM Awards. These awards have been presented since 2007 by the Swiss Association for Location Management SVSM, the umbrella organization of Swiss business and location promotion agencies. With this award, the umbrella organization honors targeted, effective and innovative projects in the areas of location marketing, location development and business promotion.
12 applications, five nominees, two awards
For this year's awards, 12 applications were received from all over Switzerland. An expert jury evaluated these based on defined criteria and nominated five projects for the 2023 awards:
The participants in Olten eagerly awaited the announcement by jury president and SVSM board member Katharina Hopp as to which of the nominated projects would actually receive an award. "The decision was not easy for the jury this year either," said Hopp in advance. Even a nomination for the award is an honor and recognition. The coveted trophies were finally presented to Raphael von Thiessen from the Canton of Zurich Location Promotion Agency and Sabrina Honegger from the Zürioberland Location Promotion Agency.
Award for innovation sandbox artificial intelligence
The "Artificial Intelligence Innovation Sandbox" project of the Canton of Zurich's Economic Development Agency is a test environment for the implementation of AI projects. The Sandbox is designed to promote responsible innovation by allowing the administration and participating organizations to work closely on regulatory issues and to enable the use of novel data sources. At the award ceremony, jury president Katharina Hopp praised the clear strategic approach and emphasized that projects such as the Sandbox are urgently needed, as Switzerland is lagging far behind internationally, particularly in the regulatory aspect of artificial intelligence. The jury also considered the fact that a cantonal office is networking with companies in order to jointly promote Switzerland as a high-tech location to be remarkable.
Award for "Echt regional" platform
The second award went to Standortförderung Zürioberland for its "Echt regional" project. This is an IT system for the simple certification of regional products. Until now, this has involved a great deal of effort, which has deterred some producers from applying for certification. The new platform, which several regional brands have already joined, simplifies the process and can be expanded as required. "Although the Zürioberland location promotion agency has taken the initiative, it has not created an isolated solution, but a forward-looking platform with great potential," said jury president Hopp at the award ceremony. The strengths of Swiss regional products would be brought into focus with this digital showcase.
Sonja Wollkopf Walt is location manager of the year
Every year at the SVSM Awards ceremony, the umbrella organization also honors a deserving personality as Site Manager of the Year. After Christoph Lang, Samih Sawiris and Bruno Marazzi, for example, received the award in previous years, this year the jury decided to honor one of its own: Sonja Wollkopf Walt, Managing Director of the Greater Zurich Area, received the award for Location Manager of the Year 2023 in Olten. In his laudatory speech, Ambassador Eric Jakob, Head of the Directorate for Site Promotion SECO and jury member of the SVSM Awards, described Wollkopf Walt as a "pioneer and inspiration for national site promotion". It has repositioned the Greater Zurich Area in difficult times and enabled growth thanks to a new approach - away from geography and towards the marketing of ecosystems that know no cantonal borders. "In an interview a few years ago, when asked about your career plans, you said that you wanted to work internationally and make a difference. You have succeeded in this: Your great achievements and successes are widely recognized - today's award is testament to this."