The controversial Lily Drone is back, but without all the bells and whistles that made its $34 million Kickstarter campaign draw so much interest in the first place.
The Lily drone is now just a very fragile shell of its former self, and customers who were burned by its failed crowdfunding campaign will likely wish that it never dug itself out of its grave.
The Lily Drone Is Back, Sort Of
The Lily Drone first surfaced more than two years ago, with its creators promising a drone that was designed more as a camera. Users would be able to launch the Lily Drone into flight by tossing it into the air, with the drone then hovering over its subject through GPS and computer vision technology.
The idea behind the Lily Drone was that it would follow its users wherever they go, filming everything that they do as long as it is in the air. The drone can follow users as they run through trails, for example, or even as they surf through waves, as the Lily Drone is waterproof.
However, after raising millions of dollars through its Kickstarter campaign, the company behind the Lily Drone was not able to finance the drone's production and was forced to shut down. Further fueling the controversy is that not all of the backers have received refunds for the money that they invested into the failed campaign.
The Mota Group, however, bought the rights to the name, and has announced a Lily Next-Gen drone that looks similar to the original Lily Drone, including its "smiling" eyes and black-and-silver finish. The drone will carry a price tag of $700, but it is currently being sold with an early adopter discount for only $500.
The big catch, however, is that the new Lily Drone is missing all the technology that made the original one so tantalizing. It is not waterproof, it has no wrist-mounted control device, and it can't be thrown into the air to launch it.
Lily Drone vs Other Drones
The only selling points of the new Lily Drone are its 4K video capabilities and a one-button takeoff. However, at a price of $500 and eventually $700, drone enthusiasts will not have any reason to purchase it over other options in the market. The DJI Spark, for example, offers many more capabilities at only $500.
The revival of Lily Drone's name will likely do more harm than good for the drone, as the name has already been linked to controversy. However, one silver lining is that with the sale of the brand, backers of the failed Lily Drone Kickstarter campaign might help hasten the return of the pledged funds.