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MDEC and WEF to Partner on Drone Tech

MDEC and WEF Partner on Drone Tech
Image Credits: Digital News Asia, Article

On 24 January 2020, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the World Economic Forum announced a collaboration 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 World Economic Forum’s Aerospace and Drones portfolio to realise the objectives of this collaboration.

The Chief Executive Officer of MDEC stated that 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.

The Head of Aerospace and Drones at the World Economic Forum noted that countries that don’t move fast enough to responsibly enable emerging technologies will find themselves at a disadvantage economically.

In partnering with MDEC and other key stakeholders in Malaysia to co-design and pilot policy principles associated with drones, it is hoped that the drone tech market in Malaysia will be supported and enabled to grow.

This partnership follows MDEC’s recent 30th Implementation Council Meeting (ICM) that was chaired by Malaysia’s Prime Minister on 16th October 2019, which endorsed MDEC’s proposal to launch its Global Testbed Initiative (GTI) with DroneTech as a pilot.

One report of the drone market stated that the global drone services market is expected to reach US$63.6 billion by 2025.

Moreover, the Asia Pacific region is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the period, and Malaysia’s local ecosystem players have also been growing at an equally rapid pace.

One local group, for example, was ranked third globally in a report by Drone Industry Insights in 2019. The company and other Malaysian home-grown companies 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.

As the lead agency on the project, MDEC will collaborate with the WEF 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.

Currently, drones have the ability to increase crop yields, make dangerous jobs safe and act as a lifeline for remote populations.

Thus, the right policy foundation and platforms for industry cooperation have been laid, both through smart government regulation and industry-driven standards.

Once the enabling technology and infrastructure are, it is expected that the adoption of new use cases and business models will be accelerated.

Longer-term, autonomously piloted systems have the potential to revolutionize how people and goods are transported.

In Malaysia’s 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.

Accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies in traditional industries such as agriculture is aligned to Malaysia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to uplift the income status as well as the well-being of target groups such as farmers, livestock breeders, fishermen and agro-based entrepreneurs.

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