Science Ministry readies drone squad for deployment in flood-hit areas

GEORGE TOWN: The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry is ready to mobilise its emergency drone squad for relief work in flood-hit states. says Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup.

The Deputy Minister said the drone squad, managed by the Special Drone Emergency Services Task Force (PTK2Dron), was capable of doing surveillance, search and rescue operations and medical supply delivery.

"Our drone squad has been on standby for immediate deployment to help security forces in flooded areas, if asked by the Fire and Rescue Department and any other rescue agencies.

"During the floods in Selangor last year and the recent landslide, our squad was mobilised to help enforcement teams handle drones.

"In the (Selangor) floods, 20 high-capacity drones were used to deliver medicines to inaccessible areas,” he told reporters after opening the Drone Gallery at Penang Tech Dome, Komtar, here Monday (March 6).

PTK2Dron, strengthened through an initiative under the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), was launched by the ministry last year for drone companies to get technical support, regulatory assistance and test site support.

Meanwhile, Arthur said the drone industry in Malaysia was expanding rapidly and had emerged as the best among South-East Asian countries at 21st spot in the world Drone Readiness Index (DRI) 2023, up from 30th last year.

He said this DRI achievement was due to the early results of the Malaysian Drone Technology Action Plan 2022-2030 (MDTAP30) and other initiatives involving solid cooperation with various agencies and other interested parties.

"The ministry is also actively implementing various initiatives and programmes to continue expanding drone technology, especially to youths, because this industry has the potential to contribute RM50.71bil to the Gross Domestic Product and create job opportunities for more than 100,000 people by 2030," he added.

He said Penang Tech Dome’s initiative in setting up the drone gallery could expose the younger generation to new technology and various applications through experience-based learning.

"This is in line with our vision and effort to offer more drone technology approaches to the younger group in a sustainable manner through the inculcation of local talent and interest,” he said. - Bernama

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