The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has announced a collaboration in order to co-design and pilot policy principles and regulatory frameworks to accelerate the potential societal benefits of drone technology; as well as mitigate the possible risks. More specifically, MDEC will be working with the Forum’s Aerospace and Drones portfolio in order to achieve the goals of the collaboration.

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

The drone services market is on its way to becoming one of the most lucrative markets in the world. According to the Drone Service Market report, the global drone services  market is expected to reach US$63.6 billion by 2025; with the APAC region projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the period.

Malaysia’s home-grown market players have also seen similarly rapid growth. Many Malaysian companies such as Aerodyne, Poladrone, OFO Tech, Geo Sense, and Asia Drone IoT Technologies, were all cited in the report as being at the forefront of the regional and global drone solutions development.

MDEC’s collaboration with the WEF will leverage on the Forum’s 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 help Malaysia accelerate its adoption of key emerging technologies.

According to the WEF, drones already possess the ability to boost crop yields, make certain dangerous jobs safe, and act as a lifeline for remote populations. By laying the proper policy foundations and through smart regulations and standards, the adoption of this technology and new business models will accelerate, allowing infrastructure to mature post-haste. In the long term, it could potentially revolutionise the way people and goods are transported.

Accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies in Malaysia’s traditional industries also aligns with the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to up lift the income status as well as target groups such as farmers, livestock breeds, and agro-based entrepreneurs.

“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.

“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,” said Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC.


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