San Francisco-based company Lily Robotics, the folks behind the autonomous Lily camera drone, is going out of business. After having raised around $34 million on pre-orders from its customers and through venture capitalists, it did not succeed to start the production and plans to refund the money.
It is not always rainbows and butterflies in the camera technology market, and these news is another proof of that. We reported about the Lily camera drone almost two years ago, when it promised to deliver exciting features like autonomous flying, object tracking, a compact and ready-to-shoot design, etc.
The first Lily drone units were supposed to start shipping in February 2016, but the drone’s creators Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow kept postponing the shipping date. Until finally yesterday they published a goodbye post on the Lily blog saying that they would be going out of business after not being able to secure enough financing to start mass manufacturing. According to the company, customers will be getting a refund in the coming days.
Officially stopped smiling: The Lily camera drone.
Lawsuit & Prosecution
According to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, Lily’s creators were ignoring numerous customer demands for refunds. Prosecutors warned them on Wednesday and filed a civil law enforcement action and temporary restraining order at the San Francisco Superior Court. They demand Lily Robotics to refund around $34 million to the 60,000 customers who pre-ordered their product. The Lily company is also being accused of false advertising, including misleading customers with a promotional video. According to TechCrunch, some of the footage following a subject was not recorded with a Lily drone but with a DJI Inspire.
The fact that Lily did not use any established crowdfunding platforms to gather initial investments, deciding instead for an independent pre-order strategy, forms an important part of the lawsuit. The problem is in the way the law understands pre-order money in this case (“internet sales” instead of “investment in an idea” as is the case with crowdfunding), which exposed the company to certain consumer protection laws. More on this on TechCrunch.
Sources: Businessinsider, Cnet, Techcrunch
Update: Please check the below The Guardian video. “Reality vs. a dream” in its best.
If I was to asked to describe my “dream cinematic drone”, I would come up with the following points:
Easy to use, very portable and equipped with a good quality camera. It looks like at least 2 of my wishes just came true. Meet the Lily Drone, the new kid on the block.
Honestly, if this thing ever comes to production, I guess many professionals that were so far intimidated by the current technology will “jump in”. True, it might not have the best camera (Apparently it uses the same camera sensor as the GoPro HERO 3) but there’s no doubt that 1 or 2 shots taken with this drone can make the different between a good production and an amazing one.
Priced at $499 (A special offer until June 15th instead of $999) and shipping in February of 2016, this tool is guaranteed to rock the drone boat once again.
Here are the main highlights of this new device:
Dimensions & Weight
Video Resolution: 1080p 60 fps / 720p 120 fps
Video FOV: 94º
Video Format: H.264 codec, .mp4 file format
Photo Resolution: 12 MP
Battery & Power
Built-in Lithium-Ion Battery
20 min of flight time
Charging via 5A charger
2-hour charge time
4GB micro SD provided
External memory card slot
Lily Companion App
Change camera settings
Create custom shots
Edit and share content
Available on iOS and Android
Midnight Black Polycarbonate
Comes with waterproof wrist case
For the complete technical specification head over to the Lily Drone Website