Without question, the market for drones is potentially enormous. According to a study published by American consulting company Teal Group, UAV spending will nearly double over the next decade, from 2015’s $6.4 billion to $ 11.5 billion in 2025. These numbers include application areas that nowadays are still in an experimental stage, music among them.
In the music, robots have been mere assistents and nothing more. That's about to change
In the arts, most people still believe in the power of human genius. And artists do not want to hand creative control over to machines. Even programs like Auto Tune, an audio processor to correct and alter digital recordings and voices, is still under the control of the human at the helm. The music industry willingly employs drones as flying cameras covering festivals or concerts for TV. But these robots are mere assistants; independent decision making is a complete other matter — and what makes KMel Robotics’ video so disturbing.
Alex Kushleyev and Daniel Mellinger met at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where they recognized and appreciated a mutual love for robotics. One of their first experiments — music via automats — has been documented on the university’s YouTube channel. In the video, robots play the James Bond theme. Well, sort of: It came out a bit pitchy and wobbly, and the entire setting seemed rather amateurish. Yet still, when the video was presented at a TED conference in 2012, the audience was thrilled. Industry agents began pursuing the two innovators.
Qualcomm bought the start-up and now protects the genius minds
In February of this year, the students’ startup was bought by San Diego based telecommunication giant Qualcomm for an undisclosed amount. Since that time, Kushleyev and Mellinger have been rather MIA, unreachable by phone and e-mail, and the KMel Robotics homepage remains static with the message, „We are extremely exited to become part of the Qualcomm team and look forward to bringing aerial robotics to the next level together.“