As the world is in the midst of a global drone revolution, the overall industry is expected to be worth MYR 267 billion (USD 64 billion) by 2025. In Malaysia, local entrepreneurs and SMEs are being encouraged to explore opportunities in five industry verticals: agriculture, construction, energy, infrastructure, and public safety.
Some common use cases have been in agriculture for pesticide-spraying and yield analysis, and for public safety, particularly during the previous MCOs. More recently, AirAsia announced that it’s testing drone deliveries via its logistics arm, Teleport.
These are just some examples of the vast potential drones have, and some steps to further Malaysia’s progress include the following 9 initiatives by the government and private sectors. They provide funding, training, and more, to encourage businesses and individuals to make this IR4.0 shift.
Objective: To transform traditional farming into a high-income digital economy profession.
What it does: As part of the 2021 budget, MYR 10 million (USD 2.4 million) was allocated to the e-satellite farm program (eLadang). Grants up to MYR 30,000 (USD 7,200) will be provided to the Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan (PPK) for the purpose of purchasing agriculture equipment, including drones.
The program is expected to benefit more than 300 PPKs with a membership of nearly 1 million farmers and planters. Registration via MDEC.
2. Drone Fund
Objective: To invest exclusively in projects and startups developing drone tech.
What it does: Drone Fund is a Japanese VC providing capital investment, operational support, collaborative planning, and regulatory assistance in the global drone tech industry.
Malaysia’s Aerodyne Group has been a beneficiary, raising USD 30 million in a Series B funding round in 2019.
The VC also helps entrepreneurs with applications for non-core patents and Intellectual Property rights for their technology.
3. Venture Tech
Objective: To fund local high-tech businesses and increase their numbers regionally and globally.
What it does: Venture Tech’s niche is innovative startups that aim to be part of the global supply chain. Target companies include those in pharma and biotech, clean and sustainable solutions, as well as emerging industries.
Regulation and testing
4. MDEC’s Drone Tech Testbed Initiative (DTI)
Objective: To fast-track the growth of Malaysia’s drone tech industry.
What it does: MDEC is collaborating with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to co-design regulatory frameworks. This is meant to accelerate the societal benefits and mitigate the risks of drone tech.
The agency will play the middleman between industry partners, government agencies, regulators, researchers, and investors. It will demonstrate how drones can drive adoption across various industries after being given a conducive environment for them to operate in.
Collaborating with WEF allows MDEC to leverage on former frameworks and case studies to develop policies that support the future of drone deliveries.
5. National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS)
Objective: To accelerate the development of innovative solutions from the R&D stage to being commercially ready.
What it does: NTIS is a facility that allows high-tech startups to test their products, services, business models, and delivery mechanisms in a live, controlled environment.
An ongoing project being tested currently is the Urban Drone Delivery Sandbox by AirAsia’s logistics arm, Teleport. Together with MaGIC, they are looking at developing the long-term viability of an urban drone delivery service.
Furthermore, NTIS is also leading an initiative that will see 5 tech companies testing new agricultural solutions. It’s meant to accelerate the competitiveness of the national agriculture sector whilst improving the socio-economic outcomes for Felda settlers.
6. Asia Drone Technical Academy (ADTA)
What it does: ADTA offers a professional diploma and industry certification in drone training programs for commercial and industry-specific uses.
On top of piloting drones, trainees will also learn about their mechanics, data collection, and interpretation.
They welcome beginners and drone pilots of all skill levels and backgrounds. These include school leavers, undergraduates, postgraduates, or working individuals interested to learn.
What it does: Students will learn the necessary knowledge and skills required for drone operations and their common applications. One example is drone aerial mapping, where students will learn about data acquisition, processing, and analysis techniques.
8. Drone Academy Asia
What it does: They offer unmanned aircraft system (UAS) training courses as Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) claimable corporate programs. It’s meant to encourage employers to upskill staff in the adoption of digital technologies.
Employers who have registered with HRDF and pay the HRD levy can apply for additional financial assistance.
What it does: A 2-day intensive training program to help individuals or employees achieve the Remote Pilot Certification. Also HRDF claimable, they list a few careers that may benefit from their course.
This article was originally published by Vulcan Post.