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Aerodyne innovating drone technology for all use cases.
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November 20, 2019 News

 

With Aerodyne expected to launch the flying car soon, DTA caught up with Kamarul Muhamed, CEO of Aerodyne, to find out more about this much-awaited Malaysian technological marvel. Unfortunately, Kamarul was not able to reveal much detail to us, apart from the project continuing its development smoothly and according to plan.

What we do know is the flying car, called Vector, is being developed by Aerodyne with funding from private entities and will be built upon drone technology. A scaled model prototype was released earlier this year, and testing is rumoured to be happening soon.

So instead of speaking about the flying car, we decided to talk to Kamarul on the global drone industry and how Aerodyne has transformed over the last couple of years to become the third-largest drone service provider in the world.

“It’s been a remarkable journey for us. Never did we expect to be so successful in such a short time frame.  The backdrop to this success is our perseverance and relentless focus on innovation and R&D in developing human capital. The key drivers have been the people we have in the company.”

According to Kamarul, most industries were very sceptical when drone tech was made available to them. Most of these industries, especially telco and oil and gas, had a traditional way of getting things done, being successful and profitable at the same time. When drone technologies approached them with their new solutions, it wasn’t easy to convince most of the industries to accept and try out the new changes.

Kamarul explained that Aerodyne currently operates in 25 countries. Eight of these countries are using a lot of drone technology in their industries while the rest are only beginning to use and understand the full impact of drone technology.

“The number one industry is infrastructure. We are disrupting the way assets are being managed in the power industry, roads, ports, etc. The cost savings that we are able to unlock for them varies from 5% to even 20% to 35% for these industries. And it’s not just cost; we also change the way they do things, making it much faster and better for them. Some of the performance improvement goes up to 400%.”

At the same time, Kamarul also said innovations in technology like AI in drones are allowing them to expand the capabilities of drone tech. He pointed out the drones will be able to do a lot more things in the next couple of years, and Aerodyne is already taking charge in applying some of these innovations to its solutions.

“A lot of the work that we are engaged in right now is about Edge processing and nested drones. When we started, we used to have four people managing our drones. We then reduced it to three, two and soon we only need one person handling it. In two or three years, we won’t need humans controlling it as it will be nested drones on-site. Gone are the days of a dumb drone with smart sensors. The future is ultra-smart self-learning drones with AI on the Edge.”

Kamarul added that Aerodyne already has some of these components operational at this point of time. The biggest challenge for them in the future will be regulations instead of technical ability. He added that Aerodyne is constantly engaging with the government and regulators on this topic and they have been receiving positive feedback from them.

“Regulators are seeing the value and beginning to understand that drone already is and will become a key component of the aviation and aerospace industry.”

Drone regulations also vary from country to country. The FAA in the US are UK’s CAA are some of the regulators that are more open towards drone regulations. Kamarul added that regulators in emerging drone markets in India, China and Japan are also trying to mirror some of the regulations set in other countries. He added that Malaysia is also open and constantly engaging with drone players on the regulations.

Moving on, with 5G expected to be implemented in most countries 2020 onwards, Kamarul said 5G would change the entire landscape of where we are today. He explained that 5G will allow low latency, enabling drones to be controlled from almost anywhere in the world.

“We tested this recently. We operated our drones from 5000km away and it was extremely low latency on a 5G network. When we tested on 4G, we encountered latency of up to 15 seconds. We tested our solution on 5G and it was less than a second.”

With that said, Kamarul and Aerodyne are all geared up for the future and are hoping to innovate more solutions for the future of the drone industry. For his accomplishments, Kamarul was also recently announced as the Malaysian Technopreneur of the Year at the SME and Entrepreneur Business Awards Ceremony (SEBA) 2019 in Kuala Lumpur.

 

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