Lorenzo Murzilli, Swiss FOCA Leader, U-Space Program Manager, Board Member and Treasurer of the Association

Welcome to GUTMA “Meet Our Members” interview series, where every month we will feature a different Member. 

This month we speak to Lorenzo Murzilli, Swiss FOCA Leader, U-Space Program Manager, Board Member and Treasurer of the Association. Thank you, Lorenzo, for taking the time to share with us your activities and industry outlook!

Introducing: Lorenzo Murzilli, Leader, Innovation and Digitalization Unit

Lorenzo Murzilli is the Swiss U-Space Program Manager at the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) in Switzerland where his work focuses on fostering the development of the best possible system to allow drone operations to strive. 

With vast experiences as a graduated aerospace engineer, innovation manager and specialist in aviation, system safety and drones, Lorenzo now co-leads the Swiss FOCA Innovation and Digitalization Unit creating cutting edge frameworks for the seamless and safe integration of advanced technologies in the digital airspace of tomorrow. As Leader of the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems WG-6 and Program Manager of the Swiss U-Space Implementation (SUSI), he currently oversees the risk management processes and policy of all critical drone operations in Switzerland and works to improve the perception of unmanned aerial vehicles worldwide. 

Lorenzo describes his work as “fun and constantly outside of one’s comfort zone”. He became involved in this sector because he was drawn to the vibrant community of innovators as well as to the prospect of being able to deliver novel and sustainable aviation solutions accessible to many more than today’s few. “These solutions are still unknown,” he says, “thus the level of autonomy and mastery required to succeed is extremely high.”

As a founding member of the Global UTM Association (GUTMA), Lorenzo is entrusted with the function of Treasurer and Member of the Executive Board of Directors. He works with collaborators and partners towards advancing UTM globally in a harmonized way. His key mission through his work at FOCA and with GUTMA is to foster innovation in the aviation sector and provide the best possible conditions for Swiss companies in the industry to succeed globally.

“As a government organisation, at FOCA we collaborate with a varied range of industry leaders and organisations. We are a node in the ecosystem and everyone in one way or another works in partnership with us. Examples include other governmental agencies,” he tells us, “such as the Federal Office for Environment, to define policies for those operations that require multiple inputs (an example being crop spraying by drones), the Swiss Federal Institutesof Technology in Zurich and Lausanne to identify trends and have insights on possible futures, industry stakeholders both national (such as the Drone Industry Association Switzerland) and international (for example with the SUSI ecosystem) to understand the market and foster the most promising innovations. 

We also collaborate with other aviation agencies worldwide to harmonize our approaches and ensure adequate market access to Swiss companies. Important collaborations are also those with industry standard bodies (e.g. EUROCAEASTMISO) that are the engines of harmonization and with associations such as GUTMA where ideas are discussed, and networks solidified. In other words, if an actor is playing in the aviation ecosystem, they are a stakeholder for us!”

Within the SUSI, his team recently demonstrated the ASTM Remote ID standard highlighting its strengths and weaknesses. This demonstration has since proven crucial to amend European regulation on the matter.

Through FOCA, his upcoming work will continue with the operationalization of the U-Space services as they become available and standardized. This work aims not only at establishing a solid Swiss U-Space but also at influencing the development of regulation worldwide to ensure harmonization and compatibility with our national developments.

When asked about where he feels the future lies for the UTM industry, he tells us that one of the most interesting challenges is the relation between cellular based connectivity and other means of communication such as satellite, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. 

Lorenzo says, “This architectural challenge became very apparent with the duality between Broadcast Remote ID and Network Remote ID and will continue to exist moving forward. Balancing the two aspects will be an art. The trend is for consolidation, decentralization, harmonization with ATM, as well as the entrance into the market of major players such as Amazon, Wing and Uber.”

Find out more about Lorenzo Murzilli and his work on his LinkedIn profile here or by visiting the official Swiss FOCA website here.

Feel free to contact us at GUTMA if you have any questions for any of our interviewed members. Please do visit our blog again soon for more upcoming interviews! If you are a GUTMA member who would like to be featured in our monthly ‘Meet the Members’ series, feel free to contact us here to let us know.

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