Terra Drone Invests in Aloft Technologies to Enter U.S. Market, Boost Global UTM Development

Terra Drone is now the largest shareholder of Aloft, the largest FAA-Approved UAS Service Supplier powering over 84% of all airspace authorizations

TOKYO, March 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Terra Drone Corporation (Terra Drone), a leading drone and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) technology provider headquartered in Japan, has announced an investment in Aloft Technologies (Aloft), a company focusing on developing UTM, and a market leader in drone fleet and airspace management in the United States.

About Aloft
About Aloft

This investment makes Terra Drone the largest shareholder in Aloft, with Aloft becoming an affiliate company of Terra Drone. In addition, the board of directors of Aloft has appointed Yuki Ueno, Terra Drone’s executive officer in charge of domestic and international Unmanned Aerial System Traffic Management (UTM) business, to the Aloft board.

This partnership also marks Terra Drone’s official entry into the US, which is considered the world’s largest market for drones and AAMs. Together with Aloft and Unifly, a Belgium-based UTM provider that became a Terra Drone subsidiary in July 2023, Terra Drone is positioned to contribute to the development of the UTM ecosystem on a global scale.

Toru Tokushige, Founder and CEO of Terra Drone, says, “We see a future where drones and AAMs become a part of our daily lives. The implementation and seamless operation of a UTM system are essential to make this dream a reality. We have been focusing on UTM technology since the dawn of drones, with our earliest investment in Unifly dating back to 2016. Now, as drones and AAMs move into a new phase of development, UTM has become a priority for aviation authorities around the world. By investing in Aloft and becoming its largest shareholder, we intend to further evolve UTM on a global level. We also plan to expand aggressively in the U.S., considered to be the largest market for drones and AAMs.”

“The integration of UTM systems is pivotal for the expansion, scalability, and sustainability of global drone operations,” stated Jon Hegranes, Founder and CEO of Aloft. “Our collaboration with Terra Drone positions us at the forefront of this evolution, offering us the unique opportunity to harmonize operational standards and leverage technology to enhance the efficiency and reach of drone flights on an international scale.”

Compared to Japan, there are approximately 2.4 times as many registered drones and 62 times as many registered manned aircraft in the U.S. (Figure 1). Additionally, a number of U.S. companies are developing and manufacturing drones and UAMs. In July 2023, the FAA released an implementation plan “Innovate 2028” providing the steps it and others will need to take to safely enable advanced air mobility operations in the near term.

Country      

Drones                                                

Manned Aircrafts
(Fixed-wing/ Rotorcraft)

U.S.

790,918
(As of the end of December 2023)

174,336
(As of the end of December 2022)

Japan

331,202
(As of the end of February 2023)

2,812
(As of the end of January 2024)

Figure 1: Number of registered drones and manned aircraft in the U.S. and Japan

Source for Figure 1:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “Drones by the Numbers” – [Link: https://www.faa.gov/uas]

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Surveys” – [Link:
https://www.faa.gov/data_research/aviation_data_statistics/general_aviation/cy2022]

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, “Status of Study on Next Generation Aerial Mobility” – [Link:
https://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001612459.pdf]

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, “Number of Registered Aircraft” – [Link:
https://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/koku_tk1_000040.html]

Aloft was founded in 2015. With investments from commercial aircraft and space equipment manufacturer Boeing’s Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) and Travelers Insurance, one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S., Aloft is a leading supplier of Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) certified UAS services, powering over 84% of all airspace authorizations as of October in 2022 (*1), and last year announced that it had surpassed 1 million Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) requests (*2).

Aloft also provides a cloud-based drone fleet management system (*3) that enables centralized management of aircraft and pilot information. The solution supports complete drone operations, efficiently managing workflows from pre-flight to post-flight, and achieving automation and compliance. Other key features of the solution include aircraft and asset management, real-time live video sharing, and two-way voice communication. Every major industry has adopted the Aloft platform for mission critical drone operations management, including energy, utilities, oil and gas, media, construction, insurance, and public safety. Moreover, Aloft is SOC2 Type II and ISO 27001 certified for security.

Notes to Editor:

*1 “Aloft Launches New Fleet & UTM Capabilities, Surpassing 84% of LAANC Airspace Authorizations In September” – [Link: https://www.aloft.ai/blog/aloft-launches-new-fleet-utm-capabilities-surpassing-84-of-laanc-airspace-authorizations-in-september/ ]

*2 Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC): A simplified UTM in the United States for airspace management, including approval and certification operations, for low-altitude unmanned aircraft. Calculations are based on FAA LAANC reports and Aloft user data, last published in Aloft’s “State of LAANC” report last September. “State of LAANC: Aloft Crosses 1M Airspace Authorizations” – [Link: https://www.aloft.ai/blog/state-of-laanc-aloft-crosses-1m-airspace-authorizations/

*3 Fleet management system: A system that centralizes the operational management of pilots and multiple aircraft.

About Aloft
Aloft Technologies, Inc., founded in 2015, is at the forefront of drone fleet and airspace management. Powering over two thirds of all drone airspace authorizations in the United States, Aloft is the #1 FAA-approved LAANC UAS Service Supplier (USS). Aloft’s patented dynamic airspace platform is integral to the Aloft UTM which has, to date, powered over 1 million airspace authorizations. Aloft’s diverse user base spans recreational, commercial, government, law enforcement, and advanced air mobility sectors. Air Aware is the latest edition to Aloft’s UTM platform that also includes Air Control for advanced fleet, team, and airspace management, and Geo for public safety and other verified agencies to publish safety and compliance information directly onto the Aloft airspace maps.
For more information, please visit https://www.aloft.ai/

About Terra Drone
Terra Drone is a pioneering drone and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology company headquartered in Japan. With the mission to “Unlock X Dimensions” and create a prosperous future by “crossing” bridges, Terra Drone integrates diverse fields to foster innovation and find solutions. The company’s proprietary, patented technologies in drones, sensors, and software are the foundation of its specialized solutions that range from surveying and inspections to pesticide spraying and are revolutionizing key industries including oil and gas, construction and engineering, chemicals, electricity, and agriculture on a global scale.
For more information, please visit http://www.terra-drone.net

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