Lily Is a Drone that Automatically Follows You Around (This Is How the Robotic Uprising Begins)

Lily Automated Camera Drone
Automation is becoming a common feature amongst newer drones. Lily, on the other hand, well -- she's just a stalker, plain and simple.

In the past few months, we've seen a slew of new drones that feature some type of automation. First there was the Ares Drone, which lets users draw flight paths and camera moves on an iPad, moves which the drone then faithfully completes using advanced GPS technology. Then there's the 3DR Solo, which offers complex camera maneuvers like cable-cam flyovers at the push of a button. These drones are still manually-piloted devices for the most part in that there's still some semblance of control. All that is required for users to fly Lily, on the other hand, is a hearty toss into the air. I shit you not. It's a throw-and-go drone.

Lily is unique because it uses a tracking device that you can either carry with you (or wear on your wrist in a waterproof casing). Using that data, Lily always knows where you are and where to position the camera. The drone itself is also waterproof and can take off and land in water.

Here are the tech-specs on the built-in camera included with Lily.

Lily Drone Tracking Device
  • Video Resolution: 1080p 60 fps / 720p 120 fps
  • Video FOV: 94ยบ
  • Video Format: H.264 codec, .mp4 file format
  • Photo Resolution: 12 MP
  • Digital gimballing
  • Image stabilization
  • Fixed focus

Honestly, even though there are some gimmicky features with Lily -- like insisting that people throw it into the air -- it's definitely a system that shows promise for those wanting nice aerial footage without the learning curve that comes with manually-piloted UAVs. Of course, I'm also concerned that there don't seem to be any manual controls for the system in case you need to take over mid-flight. The seeming lack of built-in safety features to make sure Lily doesn't run into things or people also gives me pause. Still, it seems like a promising system for folks who aren't particularly concerned with manual control.

Lily is expected to begin shipping in early 2016 for a street price of $1000, but you can pre-order it now from the Lily website for $499    

Your Comment

35 Comments

500 is a good price point but this seems like the drone equivalent of autofocus fixed lens cameras -not much use for people who want control of the image. Great for grandmother's who want aerial family photos though.

May 13, 2015 at 3:42PM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1893

Whatever. This is the flying version of the gopro.
Maybe not so good for filmmakers who are trying to get a very particular shot, but perfect for anyone who would mount a gopro on themselves.

May 13, 2015 at 3:54PM

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Yeah no I agree it's great for say a snowboarder or sports video but for filmmaking it would be really limiting. It looks like the Solo is a better option, in my opinion but then that's 500 more.

May 13, 2015 at 5:42PM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1893

Did you just call a flying drone camera that requires no operator, but follows, tracks, and films whatever a tiny tracking device is installed to limited?

Install that device on a car, boat, a pedestrian, a bike and just film. We could never do that before.

Instead of calling this device limited let's work on stretching the limits of our imagination, my friend.

May 13, 2015 at 6:30PM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3896

Well said Alex.

May 14, 2015 at 8:39AM

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I agree with Alex, this is perfect for one man band kind of shoot.

May 15, 2015 at 9:35AM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1648

Totally agree. I don't want to be a pilot. I want the shot. I don't have the Top Gear crew. It's just me.

It wasn't that long ago you needed one expert to fly the drone, one expert to fly the camera and several thousand dollars worth of video relay links.

If the Lily works as promised, this is huge. How many aerial shots per show do you need?

May 17, 2015 at 12:25PM

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This is actually kind of impressive

May 13, 2015 at 4:38PM

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Charles C.
Editor/ Director/ Director of Photography/ Wannabe Thinker
1314

Very cool. Drone equivalent of GoPro. I don't know how practical it is, but very cool.

May 13, 2015 at 6:07PM

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Awww, baby terminator ^__^

May 13, 2015 at 6:27PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1608

Best comment here! *laughs*

May 14, 2015 at 7:52AM

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This is freaking awesome. Who wouldn't want to add this tool to their arsenal. Aerial footage. Hello.

May 13, 2015 at 9:57PM

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Lily + flamethrower = ("enter last wish here")

May 13, 2015 at 10:21PM

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Edgar More
All
1272

Its shape kind of reminds me of a movie back in the 90s about flying robots, forgot the name of the movie. Nice copter for newbies but if you like to control the drone's flight you probably want something else.

May 13, 2015 at 10:56PM, Edited May 13, 10:56PM

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J. Fandino
Drone sales at www.providentialsystems.com
156

You mean "Batteries Not Included" (1987)? Classic film! One of my favourites as a kid.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092494/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_10

May 13, 2015 at 11:39PM

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Ben Howling
Writer / Director
719

That's it. Loved the practical FXs and miniatures they used back then.

May 14, 2015 at 11:31PM

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J. Fandino
Drone sales at www.providentialsystems.com
156

even though I can fly a drone just fine, this looks fun. kind of like a phone camera vs DSLR, sometimes you just want to relax and leave the big guy at home

May 14, 2015 at 1:31AM

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This is too cool to be true!! I love how you throw it into the air or throw it into a body of water and it starts flying on its own... Incredible.

May 14, 2015 at 1:32AM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1215

I actually went 'No!' when it hit water and got up.. impressive.

May 14, 2015 at 3:48AM

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PJ Palomaki
Cinematographer | Motion Graphics
405

Looks interesting, fun for consumers but not great for pro's.

May 14, 2015 at 6:28AM

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Videvo
175

very impressive, specially the fact that it is waterproof, and floats in water. I hope they add a remote control option.

May 14, 2015 at 12:26PM

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Luis Jesus
Filmaker & Photographer
95

REALLY nice for people who want to record outdoor sports activity like biking, running, etc...

May 14, 2015 at 2:49PM

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Dantly Wyatt
Writer, Director, Content Creator.
983

This is awesome. Instant aerial footage for a single operator/actor. I wonder how multiple drones would work together. If you were doing a single run could you use more than one to get different angles? Also, can you set the follow distance for closer shots?

May 14, 2015 at 8:40PM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
884

The film maker in me has not really had much interest in the whole drone. My inner man-child however wants 6 of these immediately so I can spray them gold and have my own pimped up flying robot entourage.

May 15, 2015 at 1:19AM

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K
1065

*interest in the whole drone THING.

May 15, 2015 at 4:38AM

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K
1065

Ha!

May 15, 2015 at 4:41AM

1
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Great drone, but without a removable battery, essentially worthless. Who's going to shoot for 20ish min than wait around for 2 hrs for a recharge? MAJOR design flaw.

May 15, 2015 at 5:18AM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
1213

This is pretty badass. I really hope this takes off ;) so they can develop more versions with some manual control options.

May 15, 2015 at 2:07PM

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To quote my professional aerial friend:

- Built-in battery - unable to hot-swap. After 20 minutes, it's a paperweight

- No way to actually control the damn thing. It only does a series of moves in follow-me mode.

- No sense-and-avoid. If you are using this where there's anything tall around - buildings, trees, powerlines, etc - It will slam right into them and crash.

- Landing in one's hand is rarely a good idea - even when you can control it. To think it can come down with GPS and land anywhere near you is just negligent. This thing will maul your face off.

- No gimbal stabilization - only digital stabilized with a camera that they don't have details of - nor have they shown any actual footage from it.

Seems like another product that will be a huge disappointment and will not deliver on its promises.

May 16, 2015 at 9:55PM

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Jordan Mathis
Director of Photography
76

Does it turn itself on when you throw it in the air or do you turn it on first and then throw it? I'm just the person who will remember that it's turned off the moment I toss it off a cliff.

May 17, 2015 at 8:06AM

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David Scott Kessler
Director, DP, Editor
67

hahahahahhahaha~ Same here~

May 19, 2015 at 10:39AM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1648

why did it reply like 1000x =(

May 19, 2015 at 10:39AM, Edited May 19, 10:40AM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1648

Am I the only one who immediately thought of the little follow along contraption from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic?

May 18, 2015 at 11:05AM

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Jacob Vorpahl
Portrait Photographer
74

nice! lol that is exactly what it looks like

May 19, 2015 at 11:04AM

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Luis Garcia
Director/Editor
535

I'm reading alot about this drone being limited, or its limited for pro users because of it automated system... although this can be true to some extent because manual controls obviously allow you to push any product to the max BUT I think this is not so much the case when it comes to the product as opposed to the operator. I can already see the potential in filmaking with a drone like this. the first thing that came to mind was a GTA 1 style film with the overhead view. Really you have to use your imagination because this is just like the age old debate about what is the best camera....doesnt matter if you have a $20000 camera or an iPhone, if you suck at filmmaking no piece of equipment can save you from it! If I had an extra 500 I would get it. not a bad thing to have in your tool kit!

May 19, 2015 at 11:03AM

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Luis Garcia
Director/Editor
535