Terra Drone, a prominent name in the drone and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) sector, has declared its purchase of a majority 51% share in Unifly, a UTM Technology company. This strategic move comes after Terra Drone's early investment in Unifly during its 2016 Series A funding round, in alliance with QBIC, PMV, and other shareholders from subsequent rounds, including Germany’s Air Navigation Service Provider (DFS) and FPIM of the Belgian Government. By 2022, Japan's Ministry of Transport-associated fund, JOIN, also joined the shareholder's list of Unifly.
This acquisition bolsters Terra Drone's intent to further Unifly's long-term vision and is viewed as a significant step towards expanding Terra Drone's global drone and UAM operations. The move is seen as laying the foundation for robust aerial infrastructure worldwide.
Back in 2016, as the drone market was in its nascent stages, Terra Drone perceived the value of a digital infrastructure platform for maintaining aerial safety and efficiency, pivotal for the drone industry's sustained growth. This perspective was shaped by the rising prominence of UTM and Unifly's existing affiliations with multiple European Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs). Presently, Unifly has extended its UTM systems to ANSPs in more than eight countries, underscoring its dominant presence in the UTM domain.
The Unifly platform, acknowledged for its adaptability, has made inroads in various global regions, managing multifaceted regulatory terrains. Beyond its full compliance with European U-space rules, the platform can be tailored to suit Canadian RPAS Regulation. Importantly, the platform has played a pivotal role in live Air Traffic Management (ATM) contexts, fostering the harmonious existence of drones with manned aircraft, evidenced by NAV CANADA’s usage of the platform in controlled airspace.
Moreover, Unifly's commitment to lead in UTM and UAM is evident through its support for R&D undertakings in nations like the USA and Europe. The platform's flexibility has been demonstrated in local scenarios such as the Port of Antwerp and the ambitious NEOM mega-city project in Saudi Arabia, anticipated to be the world's inaugural city entirely backed by Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM).
Toru Tokushige, CEO of Terra Drone, remarked,
“Our recent acquisition decision echoes our enduring belief in UTM's vast potential. We are enthusiastic about further enhancing our association with Unifly and working towards our shared vision.”
Andres Van Swalm, Unifly's CEO, shared, “Together with Terra Drone, our collaborative vision for the future of autonomous aviation is destined to materialize faster than predicted. As a UTM forerunner, we aim to augment the safety and efficiency of autonomous aerial endeavors. United, we are on course to reshape the global drone and UTM landscape, and I am optimistic about our joint efforts steering towards our mutual goal.”