Contrary to the title of this post, the producers of the Lily don’t want their first product to be referred to as a drone, rather they class it as a camera that flies – actually it flies itself.
As soon as the Lily is thrown into the air it follows the small disc-like tracker, which you can have attached to your wrist, in your pocket or in your car/boat. The tracker is where a lot of the magic happens – it has an inbuilt accelerometer to detect sudden changes in motion such as a jump or a fall, which in turn can be used to switch the camera to slow-motion mode at a critical moment – for example as you go over a jump on a snowboard. The tracker also carries a microphone so that the Lily can pick up audio as it’s flying.
The onboard camera is said to be roughly equivalent to the GoPro Hero 3 – It will shoot 1080p video, or 720p up to 120 frames per second. It will also take 12-megapixel stills and 360-degree panoramas.
The Lily is certainly a novel answer to automating aerial filming however it is quite expensive – starting with a pre-order price of $499 (before jumping to $999 retail). That being said in the coming years as the technology improves and the price drops, we could be looking at the future of ‘point and shoot’ photography.