It doesn’t take much to get photographers, videographers and sports fanatics interested in buying a drone. All they have to do is see footage from a DJI Phantom 3 or similar photographic drone and the excitement is palpable. But there are a few common pitfalls to most drones: they require a controller and active participation in flying the drone, it can be difficult to learn how to fly one, and they’re usually quite expensive. The developers of Lily, a self-flying camera drone, want to change all that.
The company is currently taking $499 pre-orders for Lily, with shipping expected to happen in February of 2016. Provided that prospective owners can wait that long until they actually have their hands on the device, they’ll be getting something completely unique and quite impressive. The 2.8 lb. (1.3 kg) quadcopter is made of black polycarbonate and strong aluminum, and flying the device is as simple as turning it on, waiting for Lily’s eyes to turn blue (they’re actually LEDs), and then tossing the drone into the air. Lily does the rest.
On the owner’s wrist is a tracking device that comes with its own waterproof shell. Lily uses that tracking device to point the camera at the owner, who can then feel free to pose jauntily, run, snowboard, kayak, or just walk lazily along a stream being followed by the drone. It has pre-programmed flying capabilities that include follow (it flies behind and above the user), lead (it flies in front and above the user), fly up (the camera tracks the user while gaining altitude), side (it flies to the side of the user), and loop (it circles around the user). An app provides a way to change camera settings (to slo-mo, for example), create custom shots, and share content. Video is stored on a removable SD card in 1080p video at 60 frames per second or in 120 frame per second 720p video.
That wrist controller has other functions beside giving Lily something to look at; it’s also a big shutter button for taking a 12 MP still photo, it records sound to go along with the video, and it vibrates when the battery is getting low. Lily will fly for up to 20 minutes on a single charge of its non-removable battery, and recharges in about two hours.
It’s a unique idea and a chance for individuals to get in on the ground floor of a new product at 50% of the final list price. Take a look at the video below and you may find yourself ordering one.