Lily the drone follows her owner wherever he goes


A little nudge into the air and Lily takes off into the sky. She follows her user automatically and doesn’t let him out of sight. She is the first air drone that can operate completely without a remote control. She will win the hearts of all film sports enthusiasts as she is the ideal companion for snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking or other fast-paced action sports.

Lily connects with her owner via a GPS tracking bracelet and follows him, whizzes ahead or circles him at a maximum height of 15 metres and at a speed of up to 40 kilometres per hour. With the assistance of the companion app, available for iOS and Android, individual landmarks can be predefined from which Lily departs.
That’s where the clapperboard sounds for your own sports video clip. Off you go, for example snowboarding – Lily is thrown into the air up on the mountain and stabilises herself after a short time. The drone climbs to the individually programmed height and films the piste descent. An integrated acceleration sensor recognises if the user jumps over a ramp for example, and adjusts the height of the flying twelve megapixel HD action camera, with which photos and videos with 120 pictures per second can be recorded, correspondingly. Slow motion clips are therefore also possible, just as we know them from the iPhone. A total of four gigabytes of memory is available upon purchase and can be increased if needed.
Lily is loyal and so faithfully connected to her owner that she always wants to show him from his best side. For this, she is equipped with special technology which recognises the user and positions him optimally within the camera frame. So that the flight sounds of the rotors are not heard, Lily synchronises with a microphone which is hidden inside the user’s tracking bracelet. After the work is done, the drone comes back to its owner and lands directly on his hand.
Lily is not only the ideal partner for mountain sports, however. She is waterproof and can take off directly from the water’s surface, making for great shots of kayaking, canyoning or rafting.
The two developers, Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow from the start up company ‘Lily’ from Menlo Park in California, see their product as more of a flying selfie camera than an unmanned air device equipped with a camera. Lily looks more like a quadrocopter – only with a design which could win awards: she has four rotors and a tail the shape of a flattened ball. This is made of black plastic and brushed aluminium. The distance between the rotors is 26 centimetres. The device weighs 1.3 kilograms. Its lithium ion battery is fully charged within two hours and the ‘flying eye’ can remain in the air for 20 minutes. A minor drawback – the drone doesn’t recognise obstacles in the air, the gadget should therefore only be used in vast spaces in order to avoid collision with trees or lift masts.
The project was financed with the help of various companies in the IT branch. Lily can be pre-ordered as of now and is due to be available on the market in the coming spring. A crowd funding campaign for new hardware is already being planned.

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This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue Q3 2015. Picture credit © Lily Robotics

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