Terra Drone acquires majority stake in uncrewed digital infrastructure firm Unifly
Terra Drone has acquired a 51% stake in uncrewed traffic management (UTM) provider, Unifly.
In 2016, when the drone market was still emerging, Terra Drone made an investment in Unifly when it realised the importance of a digital infrastructure platform for the growth of the drone industry. 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.
In Unifly’s 2016 Series A funding round, Terra Drone took the lead investment position, partnering with Flemish government-backed investment fund, QBIC and PMV. The Series B round in 2018 saw participation from existing shareholders, and welcomed the Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), Germany’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP). 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. As noted, with this recent acquisition in 2023, Terra Drone’s share in Unifly has risen to 51%.
Toru Tokushige, founder and CEO of Terra Drone, said: “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 realising our vision.”
In live Air Traffic Management (ATM) scenarios, Unifly’s platform allows both drones and manned aircraft to operate in the same airspace. Nav Canada has used Unifly’s platform within controlled airspace extensively, over 100,000 flight approvals have been processed through the platform.
Andres Van Swalm, founder and CEO of Unifly, said: “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.”
The Unifly platform has been deployed in places like the Port of Antwerp, where autonomous Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights are conducted daily. In the Middle East, Unifly is the selected UTM platform for mega-city under construction, NEOM in Saudi Arabia.