Regulators need to keep up with air mobility development

Air mobility, such as drones, is a new area and issues need to be addressed as they arise, says CEO


REGULATORS of Malaysian airspace need to be up to speed with the progress of industry development in order to effectively promote air mobility.

SME Corp Malaysia CEO Noor Azmi Mat Said said regulations, often being one of the aspects that hinder the advancement of air mobility, should be reformed in line with the industry’s progress.

“Air mobility, such as drones, is a new area and issues need to be addressed as they arise. Technologies move at the speed of thoughts but currently, regulators are not and they should be.

“Each area of the airspace industry requires different regulations. Regulators need to be dynamic in addressing that,” he said at the Global Drone Conference and Hackathon 2020 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Currently, about 15 local companies who are actively involved in artificial intelligence, sensors, digital imaging, data analytics and battery have been identified under SME Corp’s air mobility development programme.

Noor Azmi said through SME Corp’s High Impact Programme 2 (HIP2), the agency is allocating RM5 million to fund such development, including air mobility projects.

“SME Corp is funding air mobility development among other sectors through HIP2 with a total RM5 million fund. The fund will be distributed to different projects of which, each will receive about RM500,000 to RM1 million.

“HIP2 was introduced as an outcome to HIP1, which was set up to promote utilisation of business licensing,” he said.

Noor Azmi added that the agency is looking at an additional 10 potential companies to participate in the air mobility sector.

“We are looking at assistance through HIP2, which will link the research and development works to build up the market.

“We are open to proposals and we are looking at least 10 more companies to develop the solution for the market’s needs.

“However, the number of companies is subjected to the readiness of the market in adopting the solution,” he said.

SME Corp chairman Datuk Seri Syed Hussien Al Habshee (picture; (third from left) said the government is currently implementing several initiatives on air mobility, including promoting Malaysia as a test-bed for emerging technologies and innovation.

“Drone technology is now effectively deployed commercial applications across a wide range of industrial sectors including offshore oil and gas, as well as customs and borders.

“The employment of drone-powered solutions in the operations and management of businesses in these sectors can help improve their processes, enhance productivity and reduce costs, as opposed to conventional man-powered strategies which are comparatively costly, inefficient and risky,” he said.

The global drone service market is expected to reach US$63.6 billion (RM267.4 billion) by 2025, with the Asia-Pacific region projected to grow at the higher compound annual rate of return during the period.