Meraque unveils Malaysia’s first AGV for commodity industry transformation

The vehicle is able to navigate its way autonomously between plants, analyse surroundings for decision-making and routing, and boundaries setting

by ANIS HAZIM / pic courtesy of Meraque

MERAQUE Services Sdn Bhd has unveiled its first ever Malaysian autonomous ground vehicle (AGV), Robotic Agro in Complex Environment (RACE), to reduce reliance on manpower and improve fertiliser spraying consistency in oil palm plantation fields.

With a high-power computing module in the brain, RACE is able to navigate its way autonomously between plants, analyse surroundings for decision-making and routing as well as set boundaries using high-precision location points.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said the new innovations such as RACE will help accelerate Malaysia’s drive to be on the agro commodity global map and fortify the country as the leading producer of agro commodity products internationally.

“It is a testament that our home-grown brands are more than capable of producing world-class solutions that have the propensity to solve real-world challenges plaguing the agro-industry,” Zuraida said in a statement today.

She hoped that more companies follow Meraque’s footsteps and emulate their push to create bold and innovative solutions to game change the industry,

“Meraque is helping to lay the foundation of the future of Malaysia’s agro commodity industry, and I am excited to see how they will further help to complement the industry,” she said.

In 2020, the innovation solution company, which was ranked 19th on the 2020 Drone Industry Insights Top Global Drone companies, developed the country’s first hybrid spraying drone to spot spray fertilisers and pesticides in crops to circumvent diseases in plantations.

As of today, Meraque holds the largest market share for drone spraying services in Malaysia.

Meraque CEO Md Razalee Ismail said the group’s efforts are all channelled at seeding the future of agriculture in the country as well as worldwide through “Made in Malaysia” innovations.

“With Meraque’s plantation AGVs that were built by infusing agricultural robotics with artificial intelligence, we hope to build a better tomorrow for the agricultural sector and helping more plantations in improving efficiencies, preserving yields, coping with labour costs and shortages, mitigating capricious weather, increasing production and maximising profits, all while ensuring sustainable practices,” Md Razalee said.

RACE can be integrated with other AGVs through its swarm technology and can navigate its swarm to complete projects expeditiously with it being carried out in phases.

Additionally, Meraque will be looking at training and hiring at least 500 local talents by the end of 2023 to meet the growing demand of the palm oil plantation sector and other large agricultural lands such as durian, rubber, coconut, paddy field and pineapple.

Earlier last week, Meraque announced its partnership with Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd, a subsidiary of the Finance Ministry Inc and an agency under the purview of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry to facilitate the growth of its operations and expansion in Malaysia and the Asean region.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian drone economy is expected to contribute RM50 billion to the GDP and create 100,000 job opportunities by 2030, according to the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation.