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MDEC and World Economic Forum to collaborate on drones.
January 24, 2020 News


Editorial Note: The partnership firmly establishes Malaysia as a hub for drones in ASEAN. This collaboration would surely see Malaysia recognised as a major drone technology producer not only in the Southeast Asian region, but also in the world. Hopefully, regulations can be studied to allow more research and testing into drone services and technology in Malaysia, which will, in turn, lead to more investments and technology development here as well. The industry will also lead to an increased demand for more personnel who can work and understand drones.


The World Economic Forum and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) will be collaborating to co-design and pilot policy principles and regulatory frameworks to accelerate the societal benefits and mitigate risks from Drone Technology. MDEC will work specifically with the Forums’ Aerospace and Drones portfolio to realise the objectives of this collaboration.


Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad’s endorsement on MDEC’s proposal to launch its Global Testbed Initiative with Drone Tech as a pilot led to this partnership with the World Economic Forum.


According to the Drone Service Market report, the global drone services market is expected to reach USD 63.6bil by 2025 with the Asia Pacific region projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the period. Locally, Malaysia’s home-grown ecosystem players have been growing at an equally rapid pace.


This includes Aerodyne Group, which was ranked third globally in a report by Drone Industry Insights in 2019. Aerodyne and other Malaysian home-grown companies such as Poladrone, OFO Tech, Geo Sense and Asia Drone IoT Technologies are at the forefront of the regional and global race for drone-powered solutions.


The DroneTech Global Testbed project is aimed at bringing together key industry partners, government agencies, regulators, academia and investors to demonstrate how technology can drive adoption across various industries given a conducive environment for it to operate in.


MDEC, as the lead agency, intends to collaborate with the World Economic Forum to leverage on its frameworks and case studies particularly relating the policy development that supports the DroneTech Global Testbed pilot implementation on drone delivery. The success of this pilot would enable Malaysia to accelerate technology adoption, in particular emerging technologies.


The World Economic Forum have said that drones already have the ability to increase crop yields, make dangerous jobs safe and act as a lifeline for remote populations. Laying the right policy foundation and platforms for industry cooperation, both through smart government regulation and industry-driven standards, will accelerate the adoption of new use cases and business models once the enabling technology and infrastructure are mature. Longer-term, autonomously piloted systems have the potential to revolutionise how people and goods are transported.


Such use cases can already be seen in Malaysia, such as in the agriculture sector for example. The application of agriculture technology (also referred to as Ag-Tech) combined with DroneTech can be seen in oil palm plantations and paddy fields. Combined and applied, they help tech-driven planters and farmers monitor and enhance crop productivity as well as generate a more sustainable and viable source of income.


“Countries that don’t move fast enough to responsibly enable emerging technologies will find themselves at a disadvantage economically. We are excited to partner with MDEC and other key stakeholders in Malaysia to co-design and pilot policy principles associated with drones,” said Timothy Reuter, Head of Aerospace and Drones at the World Economic Forum.


Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC added, “The focus of MDEC’s engagement with the World Economic Forum will be working with Malaysian authorities to develop a policy framework that allows for drone delivery and a potential launch of the first drone delivery service in Southeast Asia. The goal is to create a regulation that can serve as a model for the region and beyond. This partnership firmly establishes Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.”