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Innovating drone technology in Malaysia
January 10, 2020 News


Originally designed for surveillance by the military, drones have since gone on to have multiple use cases around the world. Today, more industries are beginning to employ drone services for their work. From surveillance to delivery to mapping services, the number of drone use cases only keeps growing. At the same time, the number of companies offering drone services also have increased.

In Malaysia, there are several drone companies offering services ranging from use cases in agriculture to the oil and gas industry to surveillance. The development of drone services and technology in Malaysia has also increased with more companies moving into the sector upon realising the value in the industry.

One of the local drone startup companies in Malaysia is Asian Drone IoT Technologies. Founded in 2015, the company has since designed a variety of drones for different use cases in the industry. Dato’ Seri Ganes, Founder of Asia Drone IoT Technologies, began looking into drones in 2015 and was fascinated with the things they could do, although at that time, they were mostly still in R&D.

“Drones without applications can’t do much. We knew that we had to create applications and verticals for realistic use cases in the industry.”

Upon realising the potential of drone services, Asia Drone collaborated with Dronology and ICM, a local chemical company to work on agricultural drones. However, upon completion, they also realised that there were other players in the industry who were also developing agricultural drones. Ganes believes there are two types of drone companies, those that build their own drones and provide services and those that buy drones and resell them with services.

Today, AsiaDrone not only produces drones but also trains drone operators in its academy to better understand the technology. They are not only trained to fly drones but to also understand designs, build drones and understand the data collected from drones. They have a drone career pathway.

Among the use cases covered by AsiaDrone includes working with the Ministry of Health in developing a drone used for the prevention of dengue. They started building it in mid-2016 and patented the product in 2019 in China. Basically, it’s a fogging machine attached to a drone, but AsiaDrone is conducting pilot flights and studies to understand if the service can work, especially in the different altitudes the drone flies.

AsiaDrone has also produced a search and rescue drone called Leia, to deliver small emergency payloads which were loaned to the Civil Defense ministry. Unfortunately, the drone crashed in 2019 and they are now working on a different model for them.

The company’s biggest hope in 2020 is for the release of its Seline drone. Designed and developed by AsiaDrone, this drone is able for enterprise indoor closed environments like mines, oil and gas pipes and such. They are currently the only ones working on this use case and hope to launch their model in the first quarter of 2020. Ganes said his team is banking on this model to be a game-changer in the industry for this particular vertical.

For Ganes, the biggest advantage of using local drones and services is the costs. These drones will cost much lesser than foreign drones as they are assembled locally, allowing organisations to focus more funding on developing skills to manage them.

The success of innovations by AsiaDrone have not gone unnoticed. Ganes recently briefed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, on drone technology in Malaysia. He said the 94-year-old, who is also a tech enthusiast, showed his support towards the local drone industry and even requested for an opportunity to fly a drone in the future. According to Ganes, the Prime Minister even requested if local drones could be designed and made used for cloud seeding services in the country when the need arises.

With that said, AsiaDrone hopes to continue to innovate the local drone industry.