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Pest control company aims to grow using drones

SINGAPORE — To check roof gutters for mosquito breeding sites, and to deal with bee and hornet hives, workers at a local pest control company can now chuck the ladders, and use drones to do the job instead.

SINGAPORE — To check roof gutters for mosquito breeding sites, and to deal with bee and hornet hives, workers at a local pest control company can now chuck the ladders, and use drones to do the job instead.

At a newly-built S$350,000 command centre, one supervisor monitors several workers carrying out such tasks, in contrast to the previous practice, where one supervisor has to physically be at each site.

This new way of pest control operations is being tested out by PestBusters, which is seeking clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore for the use of drones in its operations, and beefing up the number of functions the drones can perform.

“We will start off with two drones to do our routine jobs.

“I think more and more people will see the benefit of using drones, especially in dengue cluster areas,” said Mr Thomas Fernandez, chairman and chief executive of PestBusters today (Feb 3).

He estimates that with the new technologies, he needs to hire only 10 to 20 per cent more workers to grow his business by as much as 30 per cent.

PestBusters tapped the funding under the Inclusive Growth Programme for its operations command centre.

The S$100 million programme was launched in 2010 to help companies improve productivity. Eligible projects can get up to 50 per cent funding.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, who watched a demonstration of the drones’ capabilities at the official opening of the operations command centre, said this is “a neat way for companies to grow their operations, to grow their business, to enhance their outreach, without the need to depend on the corresponding increase in manpower”.

Mr Lim added that labour-intensive sectors will have to transit from a manpower-led strategy to a manpower-lean strategy in the future, as it will be more difficult to expand their operations by hiring more manpower.

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