While new uses for drones are being discovered every day, the primary function of UAV technology is the concept of the flying camera. It is with this mentality that Menlo Park-based Lily today officially announced the Lily Camera, an autonomous, portable quadcopter that emphasizes image capture over everything.
“Point-and-shoot devices, action cameras, camcorders, and DSLRs have served us well on the ground and attached to drones, but we’ve always wanted a richer, more contextual point of view,” Lily cofounder Antoine Balaresque said in the press release. “Lily automatically creates exciting close range photos and wide, cinematic shots previously reserved for professional filmmakers.”
The primary function of the Lily Camera is the so-called ‘follow me‘ feature which has become almost a necessary inclusion for all new consumer drones that come to market. Like the Kickstarter darling AirDog, the Lily Camera comes with a small tracking device which can be carried or worn on the wrist. The GPS and communication between the drone and the device enables the drone to follow whoever is wearing it.
So you never actually pilot the Lily Camera. Instead you tell it how you want to capture footage and it flies the necessary path to do so.
What really sets the Lily Camera apart though, is its throw-and-shoot function and its durability.
The throw-and-shoot function is exactly what it sounds like; you toss the Lily camera in the air, the motors start up and it assumes the position you requested.
To demonstrate this, Lily did exactly what I would have done – they threw the Lily camera off of a bridge:
And, even if the drone failed to launch, it should be just fine as the body is designed to be extremely durable and even waterproof.
Once it’s airborne, the Lily Camera gets 20 minutes of flight time. For safety and FAA compliance reasons, the Lily camera has a max altitude of 50 feet and a horizontal range of 100 feet (relative to the tracking device).
The Lily Camera takes 12 megapixel pictures and 1080p video at 60fps. The camera is fixed so all image stabilization is done through software rather than a physical gimbal.
The Lily Camera is available for preorder now for $499 but will carry a $999 pricetag when it comes to market next February.
Lily was founded in 2013 by Henry Bradlow and Antoine Balaresque and is institutionally and privately funded with investments from SV Angel, High Line Venture Partners and Upside Partnership.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com