By Kamarul Halim M Kamal
BATU PAHAT, Sept 11 -- Still fresh from last year’s achievement of conducting a lecture at the Everest Base Camp which was noted as the highest location for a lecture in the Malaysia Book of Records (MBoR), the Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)’s Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Faculty is now set to create another history – developing a cargo drone.
The drone, named C-Drone, arguably the first giant drone for transportation to be built in Malaysia, and is set to create another national history.
Cargo drone project chief Dr Zamri Omar said works on the project kicked off on June 24 and involved 45 lecturers and students from the university.
Zamri, who is also a lecturer at the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Faculty, said the manufacturing of the cargo drone has received optimistic cooperation and encouragement from the Education Ministry (MoE) when the team was awarded a research grant worth nearly RM1 million.
“We have received the Translational Research Grant Scheme (TRGS) from MoE worth RM955,000 and have been given 14 months to build the drone, measuring 4.8 metres (in diameter).
“As we were into our second month (in August), we have progressed by building its basic frame weighing about 450 kg, which will be able to handle a load of up to 180 kg,” he said in a recent interview with Bernama.
According to Zamri, in order to develop the drone, the team was divided into four groups.
The first group involves in the drone’s structure phase, while the other three groups will be involved, namely, in power or engine phase; control and operation phase; and the drone’s external design phase.
“We also seek opinion and advice from lecturers and researchers from other local universities as well as some industry players who are interested in using our drone.
“UTHM has also sought the opinion and approval from Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority (CAAM) regarding the design and licence,” he added.
Zamri also said that the idea for developing the battery-powered C-Drone was mooted in 2017, following the need for faster transportation to deliver goods to consumers.
He said currently, the shipment of goods using vehicles such as aircraft, ships and lorries are time-consuming.
“With a drone, shipment of goods will not require much space compared to the airport and the delivery time can be shortened, unlike lorries that are often stuck in traffic.
“We expect that fully-charged drone will be able to travel up to 200 kilometres or for two hours. We are also planning to develop the solar energy technology to increase the drone’s power,” he said.
Hence, he hoped the drone could be the future of the transportation to deliver goods to consumers.