Malaysia’s drone technology prospects start flying high

Malaysia has made great strides in the field of drone technology, with top drone service companies such as Aerodyne Group, Merak Group and Aonic Group currently among the best in the world in terms of size, growth, funding and recognition. is ranked.

Malaysia has also been recognized for its drone readiness, ranking 21st in Drone Industry Insight magazine in 2023, indicating strong government support for the industry. .

The drone market size is expected to reach US$54.6 billion (RM260.82 billion) by 2030, with Asia expected to experience the highest growth. The Malaysia Drone Technology Action Plan 2022-2030 (MDTAP30) aims to significantly contribute to GDP, with an expected increase of RM50.71 billion by 2030 and the creation of 100,000 high-value jobs. It is expected that These comprehensive efforts highlight the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation’s (MRANTI) holistic approach to position Malaysia as a leader in Southeast Asia in the field of drone and robotics technology, said Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Minister Chan Lee Kang said.

Supportive policies, international cooperation on standards, and interagency partnerships will maximize the benefits of drone technology, address food security, and promote sustainable practices. ” — Chan Li Kang Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation

Agriculture and construction industries will benefit from drone technology

Agriculture is currently the second industry to use drones after construction, and the agricultural drone market is valued at US$1.3 billion. Agricultural drones seem to have a bright future. According to estimates, this industry is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 25%, reaching US$ 5.7 billion by 2026. As drone prices drop and agricultural drone software becomes more complex, demand is expected to only increase.

Drones offer significant benefits in agriculture, asset management and security surveillance, with leading industry players such as Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), Sime Darby Plantation Bhd and Edotco leveraging the technology. The use of drones is expanding into areas such as forestry, agriculture, ecological research, and grazing, where they are primarily used for on-site monitoring and data collection on both large and small farms.

“By leveraging drones as a platform for remote sensing, we are not only able to achieve higher resolution images, but also ensure cost-effectiveness compared to traditional methods. This will drive economic growth and environmental stewardship. This underscores our commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions to farmers and industry to achieve this goal,” said Chan.

The integration of drone technology brings not only opportunities for automation, but also challenges such as airspace management, potential impacts on traditional aviation, and concerns about job losses in industries where drones replace manual labor.

“As we embrace the widespread adoption of drone technology, we must also recognize that it is essential to address the challenges associated with integration. For example, in agriculture, where drones take over some tasks, proactively engage and foster dialogue with stakeholders to ensure our workforce remains agile and resilient in the face of technological advancements. It challenges us to invest in reskilling and upskilling initiatives,” explains Chan.

The regulatory landscape of drones includes considerations for safety, security, privacy, airspace management, and more. Industries deploying drone technology may initially face challenges in adapting and complying with evolving regulations, which may lead to increased compliance costs.

This also includes privacy concerns, especially for drones equipped with cameras. Industries that could be negatively affected include residential areas, where the use of drones for surveillance purposes could lead to privacy issues.

Harmonization of ASEAN drone technology regulations underway

As far as industry players are concerned, global regulatory harmonization and standardization will bring benefits in terms of expanded services and solutions.

Recognizing the complexity of regulatory discrepancies, efforts to harmonize and standardize drone regulations have already been initiated and implemented within civil aviation authority member states in Southeast Asia and around the world.

Chang said early intervention and facilitation to ease regulatory harmonization is critical to the industry’s growth. This is possible through cooperation and synergy between multiple actors and stakeholders.

“For example, from August 21 to 25 last year, MRANTI, in collaboration with industry partner Penn Aviation, conducted a joint study with the Joint Unmanned Systems Rulemaking Authority (JARUS), consisting of civil aviation authorities from Australia, the United Kingdom, Thailand, China, and Australia. ) accepted members of Malaysia to discuss aspects of risk assessment of special operations and harmonization of regulations in different jurisdictions.

This includes a variety of assessments, including civil aviation authority assessments to examine regulatory frameworks, personnel qualifications, training programs, and overall safety systems, as well as categorization of each country’s compliance status, including compliance with international safety standards. It is done through means.

Bright future for Malaysia’s drone technology scene

Budget 2024 allocated RM76 million to strengthen the research, development, commercialization and innovation ecosystem. An additional RM10 million will support the drone and robotics sector under MRANTI.

MRANTI has set an ambitious agenda with MDTAP30. This comprehensive roadmap is designed to not only foster the growth of the drone technology industry but also ensure the responsible and efficient use of drones in the country.

Beyond industry-specific missions, MRANTI is also committed to leveraging drone technology to support security and rescue forces during emergencies and disasters. Pasukan Tindakan Kecemasan Khas Drone, led by He MRANTI as the coordinating agency, is providing assistance to flood victims through cooperation between local governments, industry and selected drone players.

The implementation of drone technology in Malaysia has demonstrated significant benefits in areas such as agriculture, asset management, and safety monitoring.

The importance of cooperation policy in drone technology

The implementation of drone technology in agriculture will greatly benefit from policies and regulations that emphasize safety, innovation, and sustainability. These policies have evolved to not only ensure the safe operation of drones through licensing and operational restrictions, but also to increase the productivity and environmental sustainability of the sector.

Chan points out that governments around the world are introducing measures such as subsidies, tax breaks and research funding to encourage the use of drones in agriculture. This includes the development of new technologies and the integration of drones and precision farming systems.

“Supportive policies, international cooperation on standards, and partnerships between government agencies will maximize the benefits of drone technology, address food security, and promote sustainable practices,” said Chan. It added that it would help align the regulatory framework with privacy, security and environmental concerns.

Investments in research and development will improve drone capabilities, and collaborative government efforts will improve the adoption and effectiveness of the technology in agriculture. Training and development initiatives provide essential support to stakeholders and ensure the integration of technology into agricultural practices, promoting economic prosperity and sustainability.

“By fostering an innovation ecosystem and supporting technology companies, we can accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies in agriculture,” Zhang concluded.

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