M'sians Who Made Their Own 'Tesla' Want Local Opportunities Despite Getting Foreign Offers
This is Muhammad Haziq Faris Hasnol. He is the founder and CEO of REKA (formerly known as REKA Studios).
Haziq has been an avid tech enthusiast since he was a young boy. He took apart his personal computer and put it back together while his peers were busy with their studies in school.
He studied Computer Science at Cambridge University and gained various experiences in the industry, including working for Google for over a year to help develop the popular web browser, Google Chrome.
Haziq eventually returned to Malaysia and made full use of his experience to set up his own research and development company, REKA, which has since worked on the creation of many innovative products such as intelligent LED boards and smart traffic lights.
However, the 27-year-old and his team have bigger plans and dream to make Malaysia known for its driverless car technology
Today, the creative REKA team is made of up several talented and great individuals from various backgrounds - from a local aerospace engineer who had a learning stint at NASA to a former researcher at Samsung in South Korea.
They are driven by the same passion to craft technology and their love for the country.
The team began its efforts in 2016 by developing its own self-driving technology and is working towards commercialising self-driving car.They successfully created an electronic chip known as RIG (Reka Innovation Gear) and tested it together with sensors, GPS, and videocam, on one of their first prototypes, a Proton Waja.
With two passengers in the rear seats and no driver, the self-driving car successfully made its way from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka.
The REKA team has made a lot of progress since then, as the team has upgraded its self-driving car into a Level 3 car
The latest prototype was showcased at the Malaysia Autoshow held at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Seri Kembangan, Selangor last month.
Level 3 in the autonomous driving world indicates completely hands-free driving, which mean that a driver is still present and can intervene if necessary, but the person could switch to non-driving tasks, such as texting.
It was learned that REKA managed to obtain two Proton Perdana loaned to them by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and NanoMalaysia to develop their prototypes.
Haziq recently revealed that the REKA team's innovation has attracted interests from foreign parties but the team is still waiting for local opportunities
In an interview with Paultan.org, Haziq reportedly said that several foreign companies from Singapore and Australia have expressed their interest to work together with REKA to further develop and refine its product's capabilities, yet the same cannot be said for local manufacturers and government agencies.
"Based on feedback from manufacturers and government agencies that we have met, they're not showing the interest as hoped in the potential of this homegrown tech.
"We're not rejecting the offers from foreign parties, but in the coming year or two we will try to survive and find a way to contribute our energy and skills to our own country. If that doesn't work out, then we will consider the offers from foreign parties," he told Paultan.org, adding that there's also the issue of patent ownership.