Drones on trails! Ultimate future Xmas present or Utter Mayhem?

I Updated January 15, 2017
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Drones on trails! Ultimate future Xmas present or Utter Mayhem?
Introducing the Lily Camera

We have come across this new product. It's a drone that is portable, easy to launch (just flick it in the air), follows you with no need for controls, and gives you a good 20 mins of battery flight time. It's called the Lily Camera and is available to buy in Feb 2016. Now before you go order one it doesn't (yet) have obstacle avoidance so if you ride where there are trees etc it just wont work. 

You will see it being promoted for Snowboarding and Kayaking etc but not yet for MTB due to this lack of obstacle avoidance. Also a 20 mins battery life isn't much for a trail. Enough though for a few downhill runs maybe but not much use for XC. It's fascinating though and I predict though that it is all just a matter of time to sort these issues and we may start seeing it popping up on some DH slopes near you in the not too distant future.

So is this the ultimate xmas present of the future? or the perfect skills training tool, maybe the death of the helmet Cam? or is this just a spherical pie in the sky idea that if somehow made it into the real world is going to lead to just utter mayhem sky clutter and disruption on the trails? What folk think? Read on for the full details. 

Lily, is a a company pioneering an easy-to-use, self-flying camera called the Lily Camera. It's the world’s first throw-and-shoot that flies itself. Initiated with a simple throw in the air, the Lily Camera automatically follows its owner, capturing stunning footage and high definition images while hovering in place or flying at speeds up to 25 mph.

The camera, completely engineered for tough aerial and water environments, is built for outdoor action sports enthusiasts and for anyone who just wants a simple, fun way to record and share their everyday activities. Leveraging advanced computer vision algorithms and GPS, the Lily Camera intelligently tracks its owner, following every move. With autonomous flight, Lily expands creative shooting opportunities well beyond handheld and action cameras with a single point-of-view.

“Lily automatically creates exciting close range photos and wide, cinematic shots previously reserved for professional filmmakers.”

Now totally free from having to hold or maneuver a camera, the Lily owner can be featured and included in all shots from casual outdoor activities to travel, snow, surf, golf, hiking, boating, and family adventures.

“Point-and-shoot devices, action cameras, camcorders, and DSLRs have served us well on the ground and attached to drones, but we’ve always wanted a richer, more contextual point-of-view,” said Antoine Balaresque, CEO and co-founder of Lily. “Lily automatically creates exciting close range photos and wide, cinematic shots previously reserved for professional filmmakers.”


  • Throw it in air to start shooting
  • Flies itself, no controller required
  • Waterproof
  • Sleek design, fits in backpack, 2.8 lbs
  • Photos: 12 MP, Video: 1080p/60fps & 720p/120fps
  • Sony IMX117 1/2.3’’ image sensor
  • Programmable flight paths via mobile app
  • 20 minutes flight time
  • Optimal flying: Outdoors 10-30 ft, up to 25 mph
  • Audio recording from tracking device
  • Complies with FAA guidelines


The Lily Camera’s core technology is driven by proprietary computer vision algorithms. Lily constantly communicates with the owner’s tracking device which relays position, distance, and speed back to the built-in camera. Lily recognizes the owner and improves tracking accuracy over time. This technology enables Lily to fly completely autonomously, always keeping its owner in the shot and delivering smooth footage. Lily is also programmable and can receive directions via the tracking device or the mobile app. The camera is able to follow, loop, zoom, fly out, hover, and more.


Fully waterproof with a compact design, the Lily Camera is hardy enough to withstand challenging winds and water. “Home base” to Lily is the owner’s hand. Via the tracking device, the owner summons Lily to make a graceful palm landing. That same tracking device also enables audio recording, which is automatically synchronized with the camera’s footage, an option not offered on drones that carry a separate camera.


Pre-orders for the Lily Camera begin today at $499 USD. Special pricing includes the camera and a wrist tracking device with waterproof case. Additional accessories such as propellers, cases, etc. will be available for purchase online. The product ships in February 2016 at $999.

For more information and to pre-order Lily, please visit www.lily.camera.


Lily is a technology company that makes flying cameras. Its flagship product, the Lily Camera, is the first autonomous, throw-and-shoot imaging device in the world. Co-founders Henry Bradlow and Antoine Balaresque met while studying computer science and working at the UC Berkeley Robotics Laboratory. The company, founded in 2013 and based in Menlo Park, CA, is funded by top institutional and private investors that include SV Angel, High Line Venture Partners, and Upside Partnership. For more information, please visit www.lily.camera.


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Lily Robotics never shipped a single drone.
Read this. Disappointing. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/01/facing-unlawful-business-suit-drone-startup-with-34m-in-pre-orders-closes/
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