Oman mulls drones for logistics and transport

Muscat, Nov 10 – The Sultanate has taken a significant step that will give a boost to the use of drones in the logistics and transport sector. An agreement was signed between Oman Technology Fund (OTF) and Careem, leading ride-hailing taxi app in the Middle East, on Thursday to conduct a study on the development of transport and delivery applications using drones. As per the first phase of agreement, which will last for three months, there will be a joint cooperation to find intelligent solutions for transportation and delivery using modern UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) techniques. This phase will focus on the use of UAV technology for logistics delivery services in the oil and gas services, and logistics industries.

The two sides will also explore the possibility of entering into a joint venture or strategic partnership aimed at developing land transport services. According to Yousuf bin Ali al Harthy, CEO, OTF, “The objective of the MoU is that by the end of 2018, the two parties will be able to enter into a strategic agreement covering long-term cooperation on all or some of the above issues.” Basil al Nahlawi, General Manager, Careem Gulf, said: “As a company established in this region to meet the needs of individuals and governments, we are proud to have signed this agreement with OTF.” He added, “We are happy to enter the Omani market in cooperation with Marhaba Taxi company after the approval of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC).”

Talal al Rahbi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Planning said: “In the globalised and competitive global environment, Oman’s Vision 2040 is based on the development of the economy through technology not only to enhance the level of competitiveness, but also to achieve long-term growth through further investment under the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Goods delivery via drones likely
The government recently said it was studying several projects, including the use of drones for transport of goods. Discussions at the State Council, which recently approved the proposal for a draft law on drones in Oman, pointed out drones are used for various purposes such as photography and rescue operations. “There is a need for regulations to ensure drones are used in a manner that take into account social, economic and technical aspects.” It should also ensure the users will not violate the sanctity of protected sites, maintain privacy of individuals and not hinder security.

Vinod Nair