CollMot Robotics: ‘Your sky is our Canvas’

Incubators

Zsolt Bézsenyi (mandatory to mention)

The people behind Hungarian startup CollMot Robotics first started working with drones in 2009, at Eötvös Loránd University’s Department of Biological Physics, under a European research grant awarded to Professor Tamás Vicsek. However it was not until six years later that the company was founded.

CollMot’s St. Stephen’s Day drone show. (Photo by Zsolt Bézsenyi)

“CollMot Robotics Ltd. was founded in 2015 as a spin-off, soon after our first international scientific publications on autonomous drone swarms,” says Gábor Vásárhelyi, the company’s CEO.

“We still foresee a great potential in the fleet-level operation of intelligent, self-organizing drones in many industrial applications, but up to now our main focus have been ‘CollMot Entertainment’, where we use our drones to create amazing light shows that entertain and inspire audiences at festivals and grand outdoor events,” he adds.

CollMot Entertainment currently promises to “tell a story in the sky” with the combination of a variety of elements including multi-drone formations, 3D dynamic animations, drone-launched fireworks, drone “light painting” as well as drone shows based on real-time human-drone interaction.

“All of these building blocks help us to innovate in this exciting industry and to deliver on the promise of our slogan: ‘Your sky is our canvas’,” Vásárhelyi notes.

The core team of CollMot consists of the four co-founders at the moment, with the startup investing its income into scaling up both its team and infrastructure. The group also has a pool of art and tech colleagues who work with them on a project-by-project basis.

“We recently began working with professional sales and marketing experts, including Zoltán Várdy, who as executive chairman is helping us scale up and professionalize our business,” says Vásárhelyi. “Zoltán was formerly CEO of TV2 and senior vice president at NBCUniversal in London, so he brings a lot of relevant experience in how to build and run an international entertainment business.”

Challenging Projects

CollMot is perhaps best known for its drone shows at two large public events: the 17th FINA swimming world championships in July 2017, and the St. Stephen’s Day celebrations this summer.

“Both FINA and our latest public drone show in Budapest on August 20th were challenging projects for two reasons: first, the relatively small take-off and landing area along the riverbank, and second, the increased safety requirements due to the hundreds of thousands of people watching our shows live,” Vásárhelyi recalls.

“We did our best to push the performance of our drones to their limits while still maintaining the highest level of safety. We’re proud that we created a thematic drone show over the Danube that had never been seen before. Besides the ‘standard’ static drone formations, we also developed giant 3D dynamic animations, like the Miraculous Deer, which is a truly unique element worldwide.”

At the moment, CollMot’s team is focusing on becoming the continent’s leading drone light show producer.

“We would like to scale up our business, automate the design and production of our solutions as much as possible, create a lot more unique artistic drone shows for grand outdoor events worldwide, as well as repeatable fixed-site drone shows in theme parks,” the CEO explains.

However, innovation does not stop at light shows according to Vásárhelyi. “Of course, this process has a positive side-effect beyond the core business: the autonomous collaboration of a large fleet of drones is something we can exploit in other industry sectors in the long-term,” he argues.

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