MDEC and WEF Announce Collaboration on Drones

The World Economic Forum and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) today 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 Forums’ Aerospace and Drones portfolio to realise the objectives of this 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 DroneTech Global Testbed project is aimed at bringing together key industry partners, government agencies, regulators, academia and investors to demonstrate how a 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.

According to the World Economic Forum, 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 is mature. Longer term, autonomously piloted systems have the potential to revolutionize how people and goods are transported.

In Malaysia’s agriculture sector for example, the applications 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 well-being of target groups such as farmers, livestock breeders, fishermen 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.

Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC.

“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.