An Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system provider based in Antwerp, Unifly has secured €10M in funding. The investment came from Terra Drone Corporation and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN).
Plans to grow in UTM system market
Notably, this is the first investment of JOIN in the drone industry. JOIN and Terra Drone have invested in Unifly to support the development of the UTMs that enable safe and efficient drone and aircraft flight management.
Unifly will use the proceeds of this investment round to continue its product development and solidify its position in the UTM system market.
Andres Van Swalm, co-founder of Unifly, said, “The investment of Terra Drone and JOIN strengthens Unifly’s position as the sustainable UTM partner for the future. Unifly is here to stay– we are very happy to announce our new shareholders and continue with existing shareholders. This investment enables us to continue to build on the success of Unifly and pursue our vision of enabling autonomous aviation.”
Toru Tokushige, CEO of Terra Drone, said, “Our airspace is going to get more crowded than ever. There’s an urgent need for a global traffic management solution to enable safe and efficient drone and UAM operations. Terra Drone aims to be the leading player building the digital infrastructure in the sky together with Unifly.”
Tatsuhiko Takesada, President & CEO at JOIN, said, “Through its equity participation in Unifly, JOIN expects to contribute to the realisation of safe and secure aircraft, airport and port operations, and enhancement of drone operation management. JOIN aims to support the expansion of the use of drones in a wide range of fields and further build its growth in the drone industry.”
How was Unifly born?
A few years back, air traffic controllers, pilots, and engineers witnessed a number of drones in the airspace but lacked the tools to manage or visualise them. It was not possible to know where the operator was and how to connect to them.
Apparently, Unifly was created for the safe integration of drones into the airspace. Originally a spin-off company of VITO, the Flemish institute for technological research, Unifly has grown into the award-winning market leader of unmanned traffic management technology.
The Belgian startup was founded in 2015 by aerospace experts Andres Van Swalm, Jurgen Verstaen, Koen Meuleman and Hans Schrauwen. The company operates with the mission to enable the safe and efficient integration of drone traffic around the world. It focuses on safety for all stakeholders involved and integrating drones into the general airspace safely.
Safe integration of drones in airspace
The Belgian startup connects supervisors with drone pilots to safely integrate drones into the airspace. It automates drone traffic management and integrates manned and unmanned aviation systems. The company’s platform enables aviation authorities to be prepared for the exponential growth of air traffic.
The platform of Unifly is already used by the national Air Navigation Service Providers of Belgium, Canada, and Germany, among others to manage drone traffic in their airspace in an optimised and sustainable way.
Also, the Port of Antwerp has developed and launched a UTM platform alongside Unifly to digitalise and automate requests for drone flights by operators.