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Malaysia Madani: Incorporating Smart Mobility and Data into Smart Cities for Sustainable Development

Authored By: Dr Mohd Hafiz Ibrahim, Acting Managing Director at Cyberview

It is encouraging to see that our prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has unveiled the ‘Malaysia Madani’ or SCRIPT policy framework as the main thrust of his government, which underlined sustainability and innovation, as part of the government’s main focus areas. 

The innovation focus area in the SCRIPT framework speaks of providing an environment for fostering creativity for Malaysians while providing the environment to do this with an infrastructure that can support the creation of better systems, products, ideas and processes. This resonates with Cyberview’s Living Lab proposition, which provides a sandbox for creators and innovators focusing on piloting, validating and commercialising tech solutions.

Furthermore, the prime minister also promotes the notion of ‘communal innovation,’ which we fully support in Cyberjaya as we encourage businesses of all sizes to look at collaborative ecosystems as the basis for further growth.

As part of the Malaysia Madani concept, the government is taking sustainability and innovation into a liveable and smart future for Malaysia. Under this concept, the government also aims to encourage the development of the federal territories into green and smart cities.

According to Precedence Research, the market size for smart cities was valued at USD $1,025.9 billion in 2021 and is projected to surpass USD $7,162.5 billion by 2030. The development of smart cities is expected to be propelled by several key factors, including the widespread adoption of mobile devices and high-speed internet, as well as the integration of advanced technologies into various industries.

As cities become smarter and more connected, urban mobility is one of the biggest challenges they will face. Rapid urbanisation and population growth will lead to higher densities, increased traffic congestion and greater dependence on public transportation, which in turn can result in higher emissions and longer commute times. In addition, first- and last-mile connectivity issues, pedestrian safety and traffic management will need to be addressed to ensure a seamless and sustainable transportation system.

“The innovation focus area in the SCRIPT framework speaks of providing an environment for fostering creativity for Malaysians while providing the environment to do this with an infrastructure that can support the creation of better systems, products, ideas and processes.”

A lack of focus on the mobility aspect in a smart city, especially in the early stages of its development, can lead to traffic congestion, and limited mobility options will lead to Malaysians experiencing transport poverty, where issues with accessibility, adequacy, affordability and travel time cause barriers in catering to activity needs.

Addressing these complex mobility issues requires a strategic and comprehensive approach that looks into smart mobility developments and preparing infrastructure to cater for such solutions to be tested through and through before being rolled out as a solution.

Micro-Mobility, e-Hailing and Ride-Sharing

One way to address the first- and last-mile challenge in smart cities is through micro-mobility solutions. E-scooter rental apps such as Tryke offer a quick, easy and convenient solution but will require safety provisions to be set in place.

Although e-hailing services offer a convenient transportation option for many, they can also exacerbate traffic congestion in densely populated urban areas, particularly around the pickup and drop-off points. Moreover, the affordability of such services can be a concern for specific segments of the population, especially those who rely on public transportation due to financial constraints.

Heavy traffic congestion is the root cause of the inefficiency of feeder bus networks in cities, as it frequently causes delays and reduces the frequency and reliability of services and, thus, causes erosion of confidence among commuters in their reliability.

A more innovative solution was highlighted recently in a letter to the press editors, in which the author suggested using vans as feeder vehicles for the MRT public transport network. And in Cyberjaya, we have a company that did just that.

Kumpool is a ride-sharing app that aims to offer a solution to first- and last-mile travel solution. This ride-sharing app was first tested in Cyberjaya, an initiative providing a last-mile on-demand In-City shuttle that was extremely popular with the local community and achieved 198% of its target ridership.

Combining the idea of a van as a feeder vehicle for public transport and the ride-sharing aspect of Kumpool would benefit both parties while reducing traffic congestion surrounding the stations.

Going fully automated

Another smart mobility solution beneficial to smart cities would be autonomous vehicles (AV). According to Allied Market Research, the global AV market was valued at USD $76.13 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD $2.161.79 billion in 2030. These vehicles would improve road safety, be more fuel efficient and reduce traffic congestion and emissions.

This is why smart mobility is part of Cyberjaya’s focus areas, outlined in our Masterplan launched in 2020. Currently, our smart mobility initiatives consist of air and ground mobility. In addition, the Cyberjaya Malaysia Autonomous Vehicle (MyAV) testing route, developed by Futurise and the Ministry of Transport, is central to our smart mobility ecosystem.

The seven-kilometre testing route is a live test ground equipped with a safety management plan that includes risk mitigation procedures. It is part of our National Regulatory Sandbox (NRS) initiative, aimed to expedite progressive regulatory intervention to innovation and technology solutions.

Smart mobility solutions such as AVs, ride-sharing, micro-mobility and smart traffic management systems rely on smart systems, embracing Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, which increases the need for testbeds before a wider rollout.

With 5G coverage, the NRS and the MyAV testing route, the city can provide an efficient live testing ground for mobility players of all sizes to experiment and then analyse and refine their technology before a national rollout to smart cities.

Taking to the Skies

Smart mobility does not limit itself to the ground, as it also involves drone technology to offer solutions for both logistics and surveillance.

In their latest report on drone technology, Precedence Research says the global drone services market was valued at USD $8.09 billion last year and is expected to grow to USD $87.02 billion by 2032. Major growth in this relevant industry in Malaysia will be in the field of agriculture, touted to be the fastest-growing segment for drone services.

The report also mentions the growth of drone training and simulation services, which will enhance the performance of pilots and provide an artificial environment to improve their hands-on experience in real-time situations.

We have long seen this potential from the Aerodyne Group and their Agrimor app for precision agriculture. We are proud to have helped Aerodyne coming out ranked first on a list of 40 remote-sensing companies worldwide in 2021.

Based in Cyberjaya, the company has benefited from the availability of the Drone Testing Zone in the city and our NRS, allowing them to test out their drone tech unimpeded by strict regulations.

At the same time, the simulation services is also represented in our city through investments by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAS), developing its Skus Advanced Trainer Aircraft flight control computer and have stated plans to expand their local team to 100 personnel.

“Smart mobility does not limit itself to the ground, as it also involves drone technology to offer solutions for both logistics and surveillance.”

In recent developments, Cyberview through Futurise has partnered with the Malaysian Sport Aviation Federation to manage Dronecubator, UKM’s drone sports incubator programme as we look at further innovation in this sector for Malaysia.

Cyberjaya Is Open for Business

Innovation is part of the city’s DNA and we see many alignments with regard to Cyberjaya’s masterplan, its progress thus far and the ‘Malaysia Madani’ proposition particularly on the push for innovative solutions, empowerment of tech players as well as its adoption across societies.

With renewed emphasis by the federal government on sustainability through green and smart cities, Cyberjaya emerges as a key player, having implemented the vision of Cyberjaya as a smart city since 2017. As a pioneer smart city in Malaysia, Cyberjaya can be considered by tech entrepreneurs and trailblazers as the true testbed for their smart mobility solutions and ideas.

Cyberjaya offers a range of world-class facilities and benefits to support the growth of tech entrepreneurs and businesses. Located in close proximity to key government stakeholders and regulators, our city provides a supportive environment that eases the process of doing business.

In addition, our Cyberjaya Investment and Services Centre (CISC) provides businesses access to various services and resources, including funding, mentorship and networking opportunities. By leveraging these advantages, companies can benefit from a unique ecosystem that supports innovation, collaboration and growth. So, whether you are a startup looking to launch your business or an established company seeking to expand your operations, our global tech hub is the ideal destination for achieving your goals.

Cyberview looks forward to supporting prime minister Anwar Ibrahim and the government’s Malaysia Madani aspiration to create a data-driven nation towards a sustainable, digital and green economy.