Belgian drone company UTM Unifly secures $10 million from Japan – DroneDJ
Belgian unmanned traffic management (UTM) technology company Unifly has received a significant boost for its drone navigation development capabilities with a $10.5 million capital injection from two Japanese investors, including one co-funded by the government.
The new funding will be used by Antwerp-based Unifly both to expand its geographic area of operation and customer list, and to produce bespoke UTM systems to safely integrate drone flights into airspaces. larger ones supervised by customers. Its new financial influx follows a previous fundraising in 2015, shortly after the company launched, and a second jolt in 2019, bringing its total to nearly $35 million to date.
“This investment strengthens Unifly’s position as a sustainable UTM partner for the future,” said company CEO Andres Van Sawlm. “This will allow us to pursue our vision of enabling autonomous aviation.”
Read more: Unifly Announces New CEO to Accelerate UTM Technology
One of the new investors joining the Unifly team is Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN), a fund funded by government and business partners to support Japanese companies developing infrastructure solutions at national and international level.
The other is Japan’s Terra Drone, one of the world’s leading producers of drone hardware and software, which also received JOIN funding during its Series B earlier this year. This prior relationship likely explains the simultaneous stake the two have now taken in Unifly’s UTM drone business.
Read more: Terra Drone Raises $70M in Series B Funding
This support will help fuel the startup’s efforts to expand its current operations in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Canada to other markets and customers. Current customers include NAV Canada and the Port of Antwerp UTM drone operation.
Although so far limited in geographic scope, Unifly’s UTM technology was enough to convince Terra Drone CEO Toru Tokushige of its potential appeal to businesses and governments looking for ways to integrate drones in traditional air traffic.
“Our airspace is going to become more congested than ever,” Tokoshige said. “There is an urgent need for a comprehensive traffic management solution to enable safe and efficient drone and UAM operations. Terra Drone aims to be the leading player in building digital infrastructure in the sky with Unifly.
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