Failed self-flying 'Lily' drone returns in less interesting fashion


TS Evangelist
Staff member

Back in 2015, we covered the announcement of one particularly ambitious drone project's flagship product. Created by drone start-up Lily, the cute little device by the same name set out to revolutionize the industry with an impressive list of unique features - some of which had never been seen before.

In addition to boasting "throw & go" (no remote needed) technology, the Lily drone was supposed to be fully waterproof, have 20 minutes of flight time and be capable of shooting HD (1080p at 60 FPS) video - all while intelligently following the user as they surfed, snowboarded, went kayaking or performed any number of other extreme outdoor activities.

If all of that sounds a little too good to be true, that's because it was.

Though the start-up was able to successfully raise money through both venture funding and crowdfunding efforts, it was ultimately not enough to finance large-scale drone production. As a result, the company was forced to offer full refunds to many angry backers and the project ultimately flopped.

However, the Lily project was recently revived by Mota Group, a company best known for selling both commercial and high-end consumer drones. After purchasing the Lily brand name and the failed start-up's former customer list, Mota Group has now created a much less interesting version of the original drone - named "Lily Next-Gen".

Despite boasting a few improved features like 4K video recording capabilities, the new Lily is lacking a number of the original's most iconic features such as smart follow technology, waterproofing and extended flight time.

If you're interested in grabbing a Lily Next-Gen for yourself, the drone is available now in two different packages - a $499 (discounted from $600) standard package and a $799 (down from $900) "fully loaded" package. Aside from the inclusion of a standalone remote (which ships separately) and a portable carrying case, the packages are otherwise identical.

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TechSpot Chancellor
I'd be interested to know in the crowded drone market, who would be dumb enough to buy one of these.

I almost put money down for the original Lilly drone. But this? You can find drones all over the place that have similar or better capabilities and for a lot less cost.
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TS Evangelist
How hard can it be to make them waterproof? I mean it works for airplanes and helicopters.

Does it still have the through and go feature, that sounds quite cool really. ;)


TS Booster
I don't think I'll ever understand why people just give money to crowd funding campaigns.


TS Evangelist
The waterproofing was the one feature they should have left in. Not too ambitious, in that it didn't require a quantum leap in embedded computer vision and machine learning technologies, but enough of a differentiating feature that some action sports people might have bought it over a competitor.


TS Evangelist
For that price, it would probably be cheaper and easier to hire a pilot to follow and shoot your every move from an AH-64 Apache chopper (not with the 30 mm chain gun of course). Convincing the USAF to allow it might be a little tricky though.