TOKYO, August 22, 2023 – Terra Drone Corporation, a leading technology company in the drone and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry, has announced its acquisition of majority shares in Unifly, the global leader in UTM Technology. In Unifly’s 2016 Series A funding round, Terra Drone took the lead investment position, partnering with QBIC and PMV, an investment fund backed by the Flemish government. The subsequent Series B round in 2018 saw participation from existing shareholders, and welcomed the Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), Germany’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP). DFS is both a strategic partner and a customer of Unifly. Also investing was FPIM, the Federal Public Holding Fund of the Belgian Government. By 2022, the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN), a government fund of the Japanese Ministry of Transport, had become a shareholder in Unifly.
With this recent acquisition in 2023, Terra Drone’s share in Unifly has risen to 51%. In collaboration with other shareholders, Terra Drone underscores its commitment to Unifly’s long-term strategy and vision. Aiming for strategic integration, Terra Drone seeks to expand its global drone and UAM operations, paving the way for a solid aerial infrastructure.
In 2016, when the drone market was still emerging, Terra Drone saw the potential and made an investment in Unifly. They understood the significance of a digital infrastructure platform in ensuring the safety and efficiency in the skies, essential for the expansive growth of the drone industry. Their decision was influenced by the emerging importance of UTM and by Unifly’s existing relationships with Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in several European countries. Today, Unifly provides UTM systems to ANSPs in over eight countries, including NAV CANADA in Canada, ENAIRE in Spain, DFS in Germany, and skeyes in Belgium. This extensive client base solidifies Unifly’s leading position in the UTM industry, and their technical expertise and reliability have been widely recognized by the market.
The Unifly platform is used globally, handling diverse and complex regulatory environments. While it offers a fully compliant implementation of Europe’s U-space regulation, it is also adaptable to the Canadian RPAS Regulation.
In live Air Traffic Management (ATM) scenarios, the platform facilitates the coexistence of drones with manned aircraft. A significant indicator of its reliability is Nav Canada’s extensive use of Unifly’s platform within controlled airspace. With Nav Canada’s UTM deployment, over 100,000 flight approvals have been processed through the UTM platform, emphasizing its crucial role in the evolution of modern aerial infrastructure.
Furthermore, Unifly extends its expertise by supporting multiple countries in R&D initiatives, particularly in the USA and Europe. This effort is a reflection of Unifly’s commitment to lead and set benchmarks in UTM and UAM.
The Unifly platform showcases its adaptability with local deployments in places like the Port of Antwerp, where autonomous Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights are conducted daily. Extending its footprint to the Middle East, Unifly is the selected UTM platform for NEOM—a visionary mega-city under construction in Saudi Arabia. With grand ambitions, NEOM is on course to become the world’s first city entirely supported by Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM).
Merging Unifly’s well-established technological capabilities, highlighted by its in-depth case studies, with Terra Drone’s ambition, we foresee a significant boost in the global development and evolution of UAM and UTM. This collaboration is crucial for shaping the future of the international aerial environment.
Comments from Toru Tokushige, founder and CEO of Terra Drone:
“From the beginning of the drone industry, Terra Drone saw the immense potential of UTM. Our recent decision to acquire the majority shares in Unifly is a testament to our commitment to deepen this relationship. Unifly is focused on strengthening this partnership by using their advanced technology and experience to improve the safe and efficient use of drones in key areas like surveying, inspections, logistics, security, and disaster response, among others. This partnership brings us a significant step closer to realizing our vision.”
Comments from Andres Van Swalm, founder and CEO of Unifly,
“Unifly is dedicated to enabling the future of autonomous aviation. With Terra Drone’s dedication to accelerate the growth of the UAM and drone industry, our collective vision is set to become a reality sooner than anticipated. Standing at the forefront of UTM development, we have become an industry-respected thought leader. As a leading UTM technology provider, our primary goal is to enhance the safety and efficiency of autonomous aviation in everyday life. Together, we are shaping the drone and UTM industry on a global scale, and I’m confident that our united efforts will expedite the realization of our shared vision.”
About Terra Drone
Founded in 2016, Terra Drone is a leading drone and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology with a mission of “evolving the world from the sky.” Our indigenous and patented drone surveying and inspection solutions are being leveraged by the oil and gas, chemical, and construction industries in Japan and abroad. Our systems for unmanned traffic management (UTM) and efficient UAM have also been introduced in eight countries around the world. We’ve been ranked No. 2 in the world in the “Top commercial drone service providers ranking 2022” by Drone Industry Insights, a global drone market research organization.
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