At the latest NAB we saw a big surge of Camera Drone interest. (it was sliders three years ago, Jibs two years, Gibmbals last year and now Drones). Most of the drones (or drone upgrades) introduced were focused on providing a smooth run or more range. Lily is a new players and it is focused on making it FUN.
Lily is a camera drone aimed at extreme sports enthusiasts and as such it features some innovative features.
The Dry Specs
I am saying dry specs, though Lily is has an IP67 water proof design, which means that it will not get killed if it takes a little dip.
The camera module the Sony iMX 117, similar to the one in GoPro Hero Plus, Black edition, so it features a Video Resolution of 1080p 60 fps / 720p120fps (photos are 12MP), but the lens was spesially designed and have a Video FOV: 94º
Video is kept on internal 4 gigs memory or an an external card in compressed H.264 format.
Hers is an interesting, the camera does not feature a gimbal. Some of the stabilizing is done with the drones motors – the camera is internal and the computer knows all about the shape, use and center of gravity – and some is done digitally in a similar way to the way Instagram does their hyperlapse ‘stabilization’.
Generally, Lily does not have a dedicated RC remote like, say the DJI Phantoms, there is the arm band and the app. And as many other drones, they create their own hotspot to communicate.
Not sure if this is a dry spec feature, but Lily is cute!
Lily weighs 1.3 Kilos and measures 26cmx26cm and 8.2cm high folded
For me it felt as if Lily is going the way of Apple, making only the necessary controls to keep the design clean, and admittedly, their controls are simple and clever.
Generally, the drone is controlled via a waterproof arm band, so the person holding the arm band is the person controlling Lily, and lily will follow that person (thing AirDog style). There are only three controls to Lily: One button lunches or lands the drone. Two left/right buttons control the angle in relation to the operator and two up/down buttons control the distance from the operator.
Lastly, you can throw Lily in the air to start its flight. I can totally see a Kayakist putting Lily in his back back until he gets to the desired location and they reaches back and throws it in the air to start shooting.
While these controls may not be optimal for a production crew, the simplicity makes perfect sense if one needs to control the drone while on a Kayak or a motorcycle.
The tracking module also has a built in microphone which you can use to record audio which will be synched in the final video.
You can also tell Lily to follow, loop (or spiral) around a subject, or a set of other filming tricks, though it is not clear yet how this is done with the limited controls, and you would have to use the app for this.
You can see a We worked with Lily to make this video demo (it is not polished and they used a low res camera instead of the camera in the final product, but it’s 100% real)
One thing I asked the Lily team was does Lily have any collision avoidance mechanism. There were two interesting feedbacks:
- This drone is not aimed at commercial use (thought at 1.3kilos one falling on your head would not be a pleasant experience), so it does not adhere to the same regulation that DJI phantoms or 3D robotics Solo.
- Lily uses a camera to take navigational and tracking decision so they can potentially use this data to avoid collisions.
Pricing and Availability
Lily is aiming at a short round of pre-sales (starting today and ending in 29 days) and then ship at Feb 2016. During the pre sale the unit will cost $499 and then the price goes up to $999.