PETALING JAYA: Malaysian shoppers can look forward to seeing their purchases delivered by automated drones in the future as AirAsia Digital partners with the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) to launch the Urban Drone Delivery Sandbox.
The pilot project for the delivery of goods from AirAsia’s e-commerce platforms, including the “airasia shop”, using automated drones is set to be carried out through a six-month phased approach at the third National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) test site in Cyberjaya, according to a statement by AirAsia yesterday.
The service is currently at the testing stage with local drone operators VStream Revolution Sdn Bhd and Meraque Services Sdn Bhd.
The first phase of the project in Cyberjaya seeks to assess the capability, experience, approval process, deployment readiness and service expansion of the drone operators.
The service will be deployed upon a successful trial phase and might be expanded beyond the sandbox environment, AirAsia said.
As a national solution coordination and facilitation centre, NTIS eliminates many processes and regulatory requirements to accelerate the development of innovative solutions from the R&D stage to being commercially ready, it added.
NTIS has also been working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) on the safety and security of Unmanned Air Services (UAS) in urban settings.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that NTIS welcomes other drone tech startups to scale up, and would do so by connecting them to regulators, telcos and other ecosystem players.
He said NTIS’ role is to develop a more vibrant drone tech ecosystem, and this can be expedited with government intervention.
“The pandemic has presented us the opportunity to accelerate structural changes to the economy, in terms of digitisation, automation and robotics, and we must embrace that change to vault Malaysia towards an innovation-driven economy.
“We believe this strategic partnership between AirAsia and MaGIC will speed things up and signal the beginning of the nation’s urban drone delivery revolution, ” he said in the statement issued by AirAsia.
Khairy added that Malaysia is poised to be the frontrunner in the drone technology industry, which is expected to generate US$127bil (RM517bil) by 2025.
AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said AirAsia is excited to be partnering with MaGIC to explore urban drone delivery.
“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, ” he said.