Drone delivery sets to remain amid changes in delivery industry

by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic credit: ninjavan.co

NINJA Van Malaysia, which initially mulled drone delivery services, is currently putting it on hold as it seeks to shift focus in light of the pandemic situation.

“The pandemic has really changed our focus area as during this time, we’ve been quite focused to ensure that we scale up and meet the increasing demand of customers, as well as our shippers,” the company’s spokesperson told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

In the meantime, it said it has been working on some innovations to improve customer experience such as their NinjaChat feature that provides users a quick and simple way to raise and resolve issues through direct communication with the support team or account manager.

In 2020, the last mile logistics company told TMR that it does not rule out drone-delivery as the firm needs to adapt to the rising demand of e-commerce in the region.

The delivery industry in Malaysia is one of the industries that continues to show growth despite the surge of pandemic. With the adaptation of more advanced technology over time, the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones are seen to enhance the delivery services with its profitable advantage.

Recently, AirAsia Group Bhd successfully secured the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia’s approval to conduct remote drone pilot training. The project aims to provide all its Allstar an opportunity to upskill with new training programmes while supporting the drone industry in providing more qualified remote pilots in Malaysia with quality training.

AirAsia chief safety officer Captain Ling Liong Tien said AirAsia is the first in Malaysia to get the approval for the accreditation of its remote pilot training organisation (RPTO).

“The idea of RPTO is to support the industry by providing quality remote pilot training leveraging our strong aviation background and decades of expertise. The unmanned aircraft system has proved to be important in many industries with its cost effectiveness and numerous efficiencies.”

The latest development of the training programme will also support AirAsia’s upcoming drone pilot project for delivery of goods from the AirAsia e-commerce platform.

According to AirAsia Group (digital) president Aireen Omar, the launching of the new drone curriculum at Drone Academy within AirAsia Academy will support the digitalisation of Malaysia through a broad range of innovative tech-based training programmes.

“Drone delivery will soon become our latest logistics solution, providing a strong boost to support the ever growing e-commerce industry while creating new high-tech job opportunities for Malaysians,” she said.

Simultaneously, Pharmaniaga Bhd is also exploring the use of drones for pharmaceutical-grade medical delivery.

With the usage of the UAV, it aims to enhance its logistic capabilities while making healthcare services more accessible, especially to remote areas without compromising the safety, integrity and quality of the medicines.

Previously, Pharmaniaga had completed its first phase of the proof of concept drone delivery project called Project Eagle in November last year.

The project took place in Pulau Pangkor, Perak, carrying a weight of 3kg of medicines.

It is also the first long-range medical drone delivery of pharmaceutical products over water in Malaysia by a female pilot.

“Project Eagle will continue with more stages at different locations and landscapes including Sabah and Sarawak,” group MD Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope had said.

Meraque Services Sdn Bhd has also partnered up with Pharmaniaga in delivering critical medicines to the flood victims in Kuala Langat.

Four drones were deployed led by Meraque pilots for three days in the mission to deliver medicines from Pharmaniaga to 30 homes within Bandar Seri Ehsan, Banting.

Meraque CEO Md Razalee Ismail believes that the successful deployment proves drone delivery in pharmaceutical-grade medical delivery while maintaining cost and time effectiveness without compromising safety, efficacy and quality of the medicines delivered.

“Drones for medical delivery are becoming widely accepted across the globe and are rapidly revolutionising the healthcare landscape by making faster delivery of critical life-saving medicines.

In Malaysia, the usage of drones can be used in emergency situations and can also be used for more rapid instances to deliver vaccines and medications to remote areas more speedily.”