Life Life

16/02/2020 - 07:51

Thien Vu and Drone

Passionate about Drone, since he was a student, Nguyen Van Thien Vu had a dream to apply Drone to daily life.

Not many people know that 8 years ago, a 9x Thien Vu produced many Vietnam-made Drones. His self-made unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could control data and be customized based on the request of the users.

Thien Vu and agricultural aircraft, symbol T16

Ups and downs with passion

On the rice fields of Mau Tai village (Phu Vang - a coastal plain district, 25 km from Hue), from an early age, Nguyen Van Thien Vu spent a special love for farming. So, Vu always cherished “to apply technological applications to help farmers develop agriculture effectively".

Researching the balance system on UAV was the turning point that brought the student of the Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology “fated” to Drone. “I really like Drone because of its potential to be applied in civil fields, especially in agriculture; and its opportunity to develop in Vietnam,” Thien Vu recalled.

In order to have funds to “conquer” Drone, Vu posted information on groups (those on social networking sites). Fortunately, the third-year student and his two associates were accepted by investors to invest capital. VSK - one of the first drone research and manufacturing companies in Vietnam was established, in late 2012.

Alumnus of Quoc Hoc High School for the Gifted said that: "My drone got 9 out of 10 times crashing down in the flight tests. The recovery time took 3 days, but just for only 3-minute test. Things seemed to go well but the fact was on the contrary.

Thien Vu presented at the call for capital within the framework of Techfest Hue 2019

VSK also cooperated with groups related to broadcasting, aviation ... to manufacture Vietnam-made Drones. During the experiment, Vu posted photos and videos on the Drone community worldwide and he received invitations for cooperation with some US laboratories.

“At that time, there were many groups researching to develop this technology product, but in Vietnam, the concept of Drone was still new,” Vu said.

In 2015, Vu produced Drones for agriculture. At the same time, several products of the same type were also being experimented in the world. However, compared to the products of the “giant” DJI, although the features of VSK were all met the requirements but the efficiency was low; some components must be imported, so they could not compete on price.

VSK decided to stop the project and redirected to the distribution of products. It only produced products according to orders. However, all efforts were not as expected. VSK disbanded!

... Vu returned to Hue to join HBI Company - Hue. Soon afterward, he realized that he always has an aspiration to do something more meaningful. Vu quitted his job. The boy was born in 1991 returned to Drone – where he was able to do things that he loved.

Fly further

Re-starting up his business in 2018, Vu did more works and sold some of his personal assets. Being lucky to meet investor, Thien Vu started to establish Agras Vietnam, focusing on developing and applying Drone to industry, agriculture, and distributing of unmanned aircraft; at the same time providing Vietnam-made Drones for agencies and businesses with security needs.

Even though Agras has just come into being, it has been trusted and selected by many customers. Besides big companies, there are many agricultural corporations, such as Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Bayer, Syngenta, ADC, Loc Troi ... that have been applying to spray plant protection products by Drone of Agras.

Thien Vu (6th from left in the lower row) at Global Young Vietnamese Scholars Forum

Chairman of the Board of Directors cum General Director of Loc Troi Group - Huynh Van Thon in An Giang said that: “By implementing agricultural flight equipment project, we wish to protect farmers' health and preserve better water resources. What is more is it increases profits for farmers, erasing the image of Vietnamese farmers with muddy hands all year round”.

“In Thua Thien Hue, Drone can be used to apply in drawing 2D, 3D model of Hue urban map as well as supporting intelligent operation services in traffic control, and supporting agricultural services,” Vu boasted. Recently, the engineer who is among the top Drone engineers in Vietnam had a meeting with the University of Agriculture and Forestry on an agricultural development project in Hue, introducing Drone to be applied in caring for Thanh tra pomelo variety.

Participants after completing the training on Drone

Nguyen Van Thien Vu's daring and passionate journey with Drone marked with impressive successes: at 28 years old, Vu is currently a CEO of Agras Vietnam and Technical Director of August Star Vietnam. The 9x guy has also established 2 more companies about Drone.

The headquarters of the companies are located in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; and the company is expanding its branches to Can Tho, Kien Giang, Long An, and next, to Hue. A team of 20 employees is directly managed by Vu along with 20 stakeholders in the provinces. Agras Vietnam has also distributed, trained and transferred technology to a number of companies in Laos and Cambodia, looking forward to opening branches in these two countries. Currently, CEO Agras Vietnam is negotiating with Laos partners to receive the project of providing the service of spraying plant protection products for 10 thousand hectares of wet rice ...

In the direct capital call session – Pitching, organized by Provincial Institute for Development Studies, within the framework of Techfest Hue 2019 on November 24, Thien Vu called for capital for the project "Applying unmanned aircraft in industry and agriculture" to be implemented in the Central region, which has got high assessments from investors.

Vice Chairman Phan Thien Dinh expressed: “This is a concern of the province. We will work with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and many other agricultural investors in Hue to have the cooperation between relevant units. And Agras can develop this activity in Thua Thien Hue province”.

Global Drone service is estimated to reach 127 billion USD in 2020, in which the largest is infrastructure, agriculture, transportation, security, communications, insurance, telecommunications, mining... In the US or China, the number of companies involved in the field of unmanned aircraft is up to hundreds and thousands; while, in Vietnam, it remains counted on the fingers.

Story and Photos: Lien Minh