MDEC will work specifically with the forum’s aerospace and drones portfolio to realise the objectives of this collaboration.
MDEC chief executive officer Surina Shukri said the focus of MDEC’s engagement with the WEF would be working with the 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," she said in a statement today.
Meanwhile, head of aerospace and drones, WEF, Timothy Reuter said countries that did not 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,” he said.
This partnership follows MDEC’s recent 30th Implementation Council Meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Oct 16, 2019, which endorsed MDEC’s proposal to launch its Global Testbed Initiative with DroneTech as a pilot.
According to the Drone Service Market report, the global drone services market is expected to reach US$63.6 billion by 2025 with the Asia Pacific region projected to grow at the highest compound annual growth rate during the period.
Locally, Malaysia’s homegrown ecosystem players have been growing at an equally rapid pace.
Aerodyne Group, for example, was ranked third globally in a report by Drone Industry Insights in 2019. Aerodyne and other Malaysian homegrown 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.
MDEC said the DroneTech Global Testbed project was 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 WEF to leverage on its frameworks and case studies particularly relating to 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,” it said.
According to the WEF, drones already had the ability to increase crop yields, make dangerous jobs safe and act as a lifeline for remote populations.
In Malaysia’s agriculture sector, for example, the application of agriculture technology 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,” the WEF said.
Accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies in traditional industries such as agriculture is aligned to Malaysia’s Sustainable Development Goals to uplift the income status as well as the well-being of target groups such as farmers, livestock breeders, fishermen and agro-based entrepreneurs.