Software Development
Federal government / Robotics / Technology

The US military wants this Philly startup to build a tiny, speedy drone

KMel Robotics, best known for its music videos, is being tapped by DARPA to build a drone for its "Fast Lightweight Autonomy" program.

One of KMel's robots. This one is a joint project between KMel and Yuneec International. (Photo courtesy of Yuneec International)

The much-heralded Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking for a tiny, speedy drone — and it intends for Penn alumni startup KMel Robotics to build it.

The project specs, as outlined by the government notice: the drone should be under 28 inches from end to end and be able to travel 45 mph indoors. It’s for DARPA’s “Fast Lightweight Autonomy” program.

“The program intends to develop novel representations and algorithms to enable small air platforms to fly fast (e.g., at least 20 m/s) in cluttered environments (e.g., indoors) using on-board autonomy with small size, weight, and power components,” the notice reads.

Though KMel is the only company mentioned in the notice, DARPA is open to hearing from other companies that could build something like this. That will determine if the agency will open the contract up to a competitive bid.

Based at Penn’s South Bank campus on Grays Ferry, KMel is best known for turning flying robots into musicians.

(h/t Popular Mechanics)

Companies: KMel Robotics

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

Our services Preferred partners The journalism fund

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


Cal Ripken Jr. essay: The MLB legend explains his drive to build STEM centers in schools across the nation

The end of software as technology

Calling all parents with too much toy clutter: This Philly startup can help

Drexel invests $450,000 in 3 new startups across manufacturing, sustainability and cosmetics

Technically Media