Drone delivery has been a possibility since drones first appeared some years ago, with trials showing varying degrees of success. Teleport, the logistics venture of airasia Digital has partnered with Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) to launch the Urban Drone Delivery Sandbox. As the Lead Secretariat of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), MaGIC and Teleport will explore and develop the long-term viability of urban drone delivery service.
Urban drone delivery
A 6-month pilot project for the delivery of goods from airasia’s e-commerce platforms including airasia shop will use automated drones. The project will use a phased approach at the third National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) test site in Cyberjaya. The service is currently at testing stage with two local drone operators VStream Revolution Sdn Bhd and Meraque Services Sdn Bhd.
The first phase of the project in Cyberjaya will assess the capability, experience, approval process, deployment readiness and service expansion of the drone operators. Service deployment following a successful trial phase can be expanded beyond the sandbox environment.
As a national solution coordination and facilitation centre, NTIS provides a critical step by eliminating all or selected processes and/or regulatory requirements. This will accelerate the development of innovative solutions from the R&D stage commercial readiness.
NTIS is working closely with Malaysia’s sole technical regulator, Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to ensure the safety and security of Unmanned Air Services in urban settings meets the requirements and regulations as set by CAAM. This will ensure that public safety remains the highest priority whilst facilitating technology advancement.
….. We are poised to be the frontrunner in the DroneTech industry, which is expected to generate USD127 billion by 2025. Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation
He noted that the global market size specific to drone package delivery was USD642.4 million in 2019, and is projected to reach USD7.388 billion in 2027. Khairy sees the expansion possibilities for drone delivery of goods being scaled up beyond e-commerce. Such opportunities involve delivery of essential or medical supplies to areas that are rural, remote, or affected by natural disasters.
Opportunities for other players
NTIS invites other drone tech startups to scale up by connecting them with regulators, telcos and other ecosystem players. This will develop a more vibrant drone tech ecosystem, which can be expedited with government intervention.
…. airasia has been at the forefront of innovation since we were established 20 years ago. Today, we have disrupted the e-commerce industry with the airasia super app offering food, groceries, duty-free products delivery by our logistics venture, Teleport and more. Tony Fernandes, CEO of airasia Group
He says the airasia group is excited to be partnering with MaGIC to explore urban drone delivery. It’s an innovative logistic solution that will ultimately improve efficiency and operational excellence as well as accelerate the pace of delivery in urban areas.
…. Most importantly, this innovation will allow us to create new and high-tech job opportunities for Malaysians. The ability to pivot is part of our culture and while some are losing their jobs in aviation, we offer a second chance for them to build a new career with us through e-commerce.