Two air traffic controllers harbored a common vision: they observed an increasing presence of drones in the airspace, yet they lacked the means to effectively manage or visualize these unmanned aircraft. The questions arose: How can you spot the drone, and where is its operator? How do you establish a connection with them?
This vision led to the birth of Unifly, a collective of aerospace experts who embarked on a mission to create a platform facilitating the secure integration of drones into the airspace. Initially born as a spin-off from VITO, the Flemish institute for technological research, Unifly has since blossomed into the industry's leading innovator in unmanned traffic management technology, earning multiple awards along the way.
Safety is paramount
Research indicates that the drone industry holds the potential for a market valuation of $130 billion. Drones possess the capacity to revolutionize our everyday experiences, yet there exists a critical caveat. Safety stands as an utmost priority and, consequently, emerges as our most pressing concern. Both national aviation authorities and private enterprises confront a paramount inquiry:
"How can we guarantee the vigilant oversight of both recreational and commercial drone activities to ensure security?"
Innovation is key
Presently, we find ourselves presented with an extraordinary prospect to influence the airspace of the future. We hold a firm conviction that cooperation and transparency stand as indispensable elements in realizing this vision. This is precisely why Unifly engages in partnerships with numerous research entities and businesses, both within Belgium and on the global stage.
Unifly's groundbreaking technology empowers governing bodies, corporations, and vital infrastructure operators to oversee the seamless integration of drones. Our open platform harmonizes the interests of all stakeholders, establishing an air traffic management system for drones that enhances visibility and averts potential collisions.
Unifly successfully secured its Series A funding towards the end of 2016, with a notable contribution from Terra Drone, a prominent Japanese drone operator and system integrator. This, in conjunction with initial investments from Qbic and PMV.
Fast forward to 2019, Unifly accomplished a significant milestone by securing its Series B round. Key investors in this round included Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), the national air traffic control authority of Germany, and Belgium's Federal Holding and Investment Company (FPIM).
In 2022, Unifly entered its B+ funding round, attracting additional investments. Terra Drone and JOIN, the Japanese Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development, played instrumental roles in this round.