World leading Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system provider Unifly N.V. (Unifly), announced today €10 Million funding from Terra Drone Corporation (Terra Drone) and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN).
The proceeds will be used to continue product development and solidify our position as the most reliable and sustainable UTM system provider.
Japanese government fund JOIN has announced its decision and receipt of approval from the Minister of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, to invest in the Belgium-based world’s leading provider of the UTM system, together with Japan’s industrial drone solution company, Terra Drone.
Through this investment, JOIN and Terra Drone intend to support the development of the UTM system which enables safe and efficient drone and aircraft flight management. This project marks JOIN’s first investment in the drone industry.
Founded in 2015 by Air Traffic Management and Drone experts, Unifly has been recognised as one of the top UTM system providers – by not only winning 7 national level contracts including NAV CANADA, Canadian Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), but also German ANSP – DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH – being one of its major shareholders. Diverse and notable shareholders are backing the long-term success of Unifly. Utilising Terra Drone’s knowledge and network, Unifly intends to expand UTM worldwide.
Toru Tokushige, CEO of Terra Drone: “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: “Through its equity participation in Unifly, JOIN expects to contribute to the realization 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.”
Andres Van Swalm, co-founder of Unifly: “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 shareholder 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.”
In the last twelve months, Unifly reached significant milestones including but not limited to the following:
Canadian ANSP NAV CANADA launched Nav Drone together with Unifly, to support flight authorisations as part of the nationwide UTM system, available on web and mobile devices, providing supervisor users and drone operators with the necessary tools to safely fly drones in the Canadian airspace.
Spanish ANSP Enaire awarded a contract for automated and digital drone management platform (U-Space) to Indra in partnership with Unifly and Airbus, with the objective to go live with a U-Space compliant system in 2023.
Port of Antwerp has developed and launched a UTM platform together with Unifly, to digitalise and automate requests for drone flights by operators. Port of Antwerp has become the first seaport in the world to manage its own airspace as a geozone manager, with a focus on coordinating safe drone operations in the port area.
Belgian company Unifly is the world leader in building UTM technology. The Unifly platform connects supervisors with drone pilots to safely integrate drones into the airspace. The national Air Navigation Service Providers of Belgium, Canada and Germany, among others, are using Unifly’s platform to manage drone traffic in their airspace in an optimised and sustainable way. By fully automating drone traffic management and safely integrating manned and unmanned aviation systems, Unifly will enable aviation authorities to be prepared for the exponential growth of air traffic.
About Terra Drone
Founded in 2016, Terra Drone is a leading drone and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology company, providing drone hardware and cloud-based software for survey and inspection such as Terra Lidar and thickness measurement by ultrasonic NDT. Also, in the field of UTM, Terra Drone has completed several projects with JAXA in Japan.
Terra Drone is one of the world’s largest providers of industrial drone solutions. Terra Drone has been ranked No. 1 in the world in the “Drone Services Companies Worldwide Ranking 2020” by Drone Industry Insights, a global drone market research organization, and raised Series B funding in March 2022, bringing total funding to $83 million.
JOIN is a Japanese government-private sponsored infrastructure investment fund company established in Japan in October 2014. JOIN’s aim is to encourage Japanese companies to utilize their accumulated knowledge, technology, and experience in the field of infrastructure to expand overseas. JOIN believes that its contribution will lead to mutual economic growth for both Japan and the host countries.
While various risks exist in overseas infrastructure projects such as large initial investment, long project period, and demand risk during operation etc., JOIN’s role is to provide not only equity but also hands-on support to the projects participated by Japanese companies.