This is an update to the previous blog, Lily Camera: Personal Flying Camera Follows (And Records) You As Soon As You Throw It Into The Air.
Back in May two years ago (May 2015), Lily Robotics announced the Lily Drone, the drone that you just “throw in the air,” and it starts following you (from 5 ft to 100 ft away), recording HD video as soon as you throw it in the air (from 5 ft to 50 ft up), at a maximum speed of 25 mph.
The accompanying video was amazing. Pre-orders poured in, to the tune of $34 million. Yet, Lily Robotics has just announced that it is winding down the company because it has been unable to secure the additional financing it needs to start the manufacture and shipping of the first units. Lily will be offering a refund to customers over the next 60 days.
But there’s apparently more to the story — and a warning to other companies who follow similar marketing practices (a few have been caught red-faced in the past, but none suffered the drastic consequences Lily Robotics has).
It turns out that the amazing video supposedly from the Lily camera drone was in fact (according to the San Francisco district attorney’s office) shot with a different and “much more expensive, professional camera drone that requires two people to operate” and not a prototype of the Lily Drone, as we were made to believe. A lawsuit from the San Francisco district attorney’s office over claims that the drone maker engaged in false advertising and unfair business practices may explain Lily Robotics’ inability to raise the necessary funding to continue operations.
Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow founded Lily in September 2013 in the basement of a UC Berkeley robotics lab, building the first prototype using a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. The Lily drone/camera was (and still is) a great concept, and we hope the creators will be able to bring it back in some form later — with videos shot from the actual drone camera.