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Coronavirus pandemic – specialists from the School of Engineering provide information

Our experts answer questions and contribute their knowledge to help assess the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences.

Impact on the aviation sector

Airlines around the world are suffering from the effects of the coronavirus. Bookings are being cancelled and flights grounded. What impact will the ongoing crisis have on consumers and how can airlines overcome it?

«In the longer term, the coronavirus could see ticket prices skyrocket.»
Go to interview (in German)

William Agius
Centre for Aviation

Emissions and air pollution

«Stay at home!» The current coronavirus crisis is influencing the population’s mobility behaviour. Private and business travel has been cancelled, flights grounded and Switzerland’s usually congested roads are empty. What impact is this having on air quality?

«The number of flights at Zurich Airport has decreased by more than 90%, while a 30% reduction in road traffic has also been observed – measurement data allows us to learn a great deal about the effect of current mobility behaviour on local and regional air quality.»

Dr. Julien Anet
Centre for Aviation

Fighting the virus with artificial intelligence

The term artificial intelligence covers several technologies that aim to analyse data, identify sequences and patterns and extract information. Can these methods be usefully applied in the current pandemic?

«AI can help governments to make the right decisions at an early enough stage, so that the spreading that causes a pandemic is avoided.»
Go to interview (in German)

Prof. Dr. Kurt Stockinger
Institute of Applied Information Technology

«The information obtained through the use of AI helps to analyse the transmission of the coronavirus within and between species and supports the development of testing methods, as well as the screening of potential treatments or vaccinations.»
Go to interview (in German)

Dr. Ricardo Chavarriaga
Institute of Applied Information Technology

IT security during the coronavirus

Cybercriminals are abusing the crisis for their own purposes, using phishing mails and malware that is hidden in documents related to COVID-19. Strangers are intruding during video conferences and distributing inappropriate content. How secure are online meetings and how can you protect yourself from such attacks?

«The current crisis is making it clear that security concepts and solutions should also function when people are working from home.»

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Tellenbach
Institute of Applied Information Technology

Smart city tools in times of crisis

Contact should be avoided due to the coronavirus, but for many people support is especially important at precisely this time. Smart tools provide a digital link for cities and residents that allow, for example, the organisation of neighbourhood help.

«The current crisis is triggering a palpable surge in digitisation and the acceptance of such possibilities will increase within the population.»

Prof. Vicente Carabias
Institute of Sustainable Development, ZHAW Smart Cities & Regions platform

Impact on consumer behaviour

The coronavirus is having a massive effect on the how we work and spend our free time. This is having a positive impact on our environmental footprint. Will the current crisis also change our consumer behaviour over the long term?

«Such moments of disruption lead to qualitative social change. Previous habits are broken and alternative behavioural options are learned. Over the long term, these can become anchored in our behaviour.»

Dr. Bernadette Sütterlin
Institute of Sustainable Development (INE) on the influence of environmentally relevant behaviour

Mobility behaviour and future models in the aftermath of the coronavirus

Employees working from home, online meetings instead of business trips and an evening stroll replacing hiking in the mountains. The mobility behaviour of the population is changing due to the coronavirus and encouraging a rethink.

«Routines such as travel are currently undergoing fundamental change due to the coronavirus. The break should be used, for example, to reorganise air traffic.»

Dr. Thomas Sauter-Servaes
Director of Transport Systems degree programme and mobility researcher