Meraque Services Sdn Bhd plans to become the world’s 10th-best drone service provider in the next five years, said chief strategy officer Rahman Hussin.
He said the drone technology developed by Meraque has given high-added value to users in addition to reducing their business costs.
Therefore, he is confident that the demand for Meraque’s products in the local and international markets will continue to increase in the future.
“Currently, Meraque has a foothold in Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia. We expect to penetrate (more) international markets in the next five to 10 years,” he told Bernama in an interview recently.
Last year, Meraque was voted the world’s 19th-best drone service provider by Drone Industry Insight, which is a leading drone market research and analytics company.
Rahman highlighted that one of Meraque’s technologies is the hybrid spot-spraying drone developed through the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) programme and in collaboration with the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC).
He also said MTDC gives full support to Meraque through promotional events in various industries as well as establishing business networks with companies in the MTDC ecosystem.
In addition to helping to generate the national economy, NTIS also plays a role in helping to launch the use of new technology in various sectors, especially in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The hybrid spot-spraying drone, a first-of-its-kind in Malaysia, was introduced to help deal with labour shortages in the country, especially in the plantation sector such as palm oil which experienced a drastic contraction in terms of production during the pandemic.
Rahman said the technology allows farmers to carry out spraying activities such as fertilisers and pesticides easily and efficiently.
Spraying is done more specifically in terms of the amount of fertiliser used which in turn, helps farmers to save almost RM2 million in terms of labour costs and the cost of chemicals involved, he said.
He said that for now, the spraying technology is used in nurseries and Meraque is actively developing similar technology for medium to large-sized trees that are between 12 and 24 months old.
“Next, we will try to develop technology that allows spraying to be done without using manual labour on mature oil palm trees,” he noted.
Rahman said hybrid spot-spraying drone technology is being used in almost 80 per cent of oil palm nurseries throughout Malaysia.
He also urged local technology companies to join with MTDC and take advantage of the assistance in developing technologies.