Belgian Startup Raises €17M for Its Drone Traffic Management

Antwerp-based startup Unifly has raised €17 million to continue the development of its drone management software. The Series B Round saw investment from five companies – three of which were existing investors. New investors were DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (the national air traffic control authority of Germany) and SFPI-FPIM (Belgium’s sovereign wealth fund). Existing investors Terra Drone, QBIC, and PMV reaffirmed their confidence in Unifly with further investment.

Unifly’s UTM Software

Belgian startup Unifly is developing unmanned traffic management (UTM) software for drones in order to safely integrate them into the airspace.

The startup claims to be the world’s leading provider of UTM software, which enables the tracking and management of drones alongside commercial aviation. The software provides visibility on where drones can fly, request and provide flight approvals, manage potential conflicts and implement regulations including no-fly zones.

The problems surrounding drone usage near airports has come to the fore in recent times, as problems arose around Gatwick, Newark, and Frankfurt airports. By 2020, there will be about 20 million drones in circulation – compared to around 30,000 planes today. Therefore, the need for UTM software is great.

Product Development

Thus far, the company has won national level contracts with the ANSPs of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and Austria, and is the selected provider in several US regions. Unifly also manages drone corridors in Japan and Malawi, and is a selected technology provider for the US Federal Aviation Administration’s LAANC program.

Marc Kegelaers, CEO of Unifly, said: “This funding round will enable Unifly to continue building its world-leading features and to expand the product offering. This now includes the BLIP which acts as an electronic license plate for drones, combined with high-precision drone tracking.”

He went on to add: “We will continue to grow our international presence and secure additional contracts in the global UTM ‘land grab’. Future markets could be even larger, with the rise of air taxis, with integration between autonomous cars and drones, and with drone UTM software predicted to take over traditional aircraft as they become increasingly automated.”

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