Antwerp, 4 March 2016: UniFly is a software company with the ambition to support the safety of air traffic by ensuring that manned and remotely piloted aircrafts (so-called drones) can safely share the airspace. UniFly has developed an open, cloud-based software platform that serves as a central database for drone-related purposes. Besides the structure of the airspace and the available drone legislations, the system includes data from drones, drone users, scheduled flights, flights in progress and already performed flights. The major advantage of the system is that conflicts are avoided by ensuring that, on the one hand, drone users can easily determine whether their (planned) flight can proceed within the legal framework and without conflicts with other planned aviation activities, and, on the other hand, users of manned aircrafts are aware of the drones in their proximity.
Manned and unmanned aviation are two totally different worlds. In manned aviation, a relatively small number of highly skilled players participate in air traffic. The aircrafts themselves are very well equipped with navigational and communications tools and are easy to detect via radar. Unmanned aviation has a very large number of users, most of whom have no knowledge of aviation. Most devices are not equipped with sophisticated gear and can not be detected by radar. The management and information systems of manned aviation are not designed to handle the very large and growing number of users who, moreover, have limited aviation knowledge.
This system can be used by different types of users. For each type of customer, a different interface with custom functionality is developed: private drone users, professional drone users, police, airport authorities, air traffic control (Air Traffic Management or ATM), drone manufacturers, software companies and system integrators.
Flemish Minister of Innovation Philippe Muyters supports the Flemish software company via the Flemish investment company PMV: “Before we can really benefit from the economic potential of drones, the regulatory framework must be approved. However, a system is needed that shows where it is safe to fly and where not. UniFly is responding to this need and already offers an accessible solution, which was internationally well received. The system of UniFly thus effectively enables drone applications, in a safe way.”
In a first round of capitalisation, the SOFI fund of PMV and QBIC contributed, which guarantees the further development of the product and further internationalisation. The Venture Development Team of VITO supported UniFly in elaborating the business plan and finding capital.
Right from the start, UniFly is strongly internationally oriented. Consequently, the first commercial successes can be found outside Belgium, where to date, the legislation is not approved.
A demo project in Switzerland in collaboration with local aviation authorities, in which drones are being tracked with different technologies, satellite and ADSB. The management platform within that ATM project is UniFly.
American system business with lots of drone experience. Uses the software as part of demonstration projects and sells and distributes the software in the USA.
European competition for software, linked to Air Traffic Management Systems. The product of UniFly was second (after Airbus) of 81 participants.
At the Drone Days in Brussels on 5, 6 and 7 March, the product will be launched in the Belgian market, hoping that the Belgian legislation will come into force by the Spring 2016.
The mobile app will then be introduced for the first time, making it as easy as possible for private users to validate a flight (“may I fly here?”) and to report a flight.
The shareholders of UniFly combine a unique mix of knowhow: air traffic controllers, pilots and a research organisation with experience in drone projects, VITO.
UniFly is located near the Antwerp Airport, Luchthavenlei 7A, Unit 6 – 2100 Antwerp
+32 476 406 187