Depa Project rolls out AI University Project and Drone Academy
Komsan Trotermvasana | The Bangkok Post
The Bangkok Post, Thailand (23 November, 2020) - The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) plans to roll out an artificial intelligence (AI) university project and drone academy next year, as part of the agency’s plan to drive digital skills and support the digital economy.
The AI university project is meant to provide AI knowledge to learning programmes and workshops at designated universities, while the drone academy is set to help Thais learn how to use drones for their businesses, particularly in the agricultural sector.
Depa president and chief executive Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin said the projects are part of the agency’s strategic cooperation plans taking aim at digital economy development, which covers digital transformation, manpower skill enhancement and startup incubation.
About 200 million baht will be used to develop the AI university project, with half the amount budgeted by Depa and the remainder by private entities through a matching fund.
For the drone academy, Depa plans to set aside 50 million baht to develop the project and a matching fund will earmark another 50 million.
The agency also aims to incubate 70 startups throughout 2021 under a startup fund, an increase from 50 startups this year which is a move meant to provide more support to digital startups and accelerate the digital service transformation to improve people’s quality of life.
These startups’ operations must be linked with the country’s core technology development and infrastructures in five digital service areas: agriculture, education, finance, tourism and healthcare.
Through the startup fund, Depa plans to spend 1 million baht on each startup in the initial development stage, said Mr Nuttapon.
Another 5 million baht will be allocated to each startup when they begin to grow their business.
Some 120 startups have been financially supported by Depa the past two years. Their combined business valuation is 7 billion baht.
In addition, the agency is supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), communities and farmers in terms of digital adoption, he said.
Some 350 SMEs, 100 communities and 3,000 farmers are under the Depa’s assistance programme, said Mr Nuttapon.
They can use digital solutions and services provided by tech startups at half the cost because of Depa’s subsidy, he said.
Additionally, DEPA also has plans on unveiling a new labelling scheme called “d Sure” In the first quarter of 2021 which is expected to be a boon for innovation adoption. The scheme is set to guarantee the functionality, safety and security of digital products sold in the country.