Lily Camera, a drone that follows you

CIO | May 12, 2015

Lily Camera is a camera drone that will follow its owner. It goes on sale in early 2016 but a prototype is now being shown as presales begin. It has several features that might be appealing to those into action sports.

This is the Lily Camera, and it will follow you shooting video.


A Silicon Valley start-up has been working on this for 18 months. This is a prototype model, the commercial device isn’t out until early 2016, but the company has already started taking orders.

It has several features that might be appealing to those into action sports.

Henry Bradlow
CTO, Lily
“It’s a flying camera that you can literally throw in the air and it will start filming you and following you around. So literally, throw it in the air means you throw it off and it starts flying, it notices it’s falling, and starts filming you.”

It’s the latest drone to include an autonomous function. It works like this: the intended star of the drone show carries a locator device and the drone follows along, keeping position with WiFi and GPS and ensuring the camera is always pointing in the right direction.

“It can also take off from the hand or take off from the ground if you like. It’s fully waterproof, it fits easily in a backpack, it shoots 1080P 60 frames per second and 720P 120 for four times slow motion.”

The camera is integral to the drone, you don’t have to strap one on, and that adds a couple of advantages.

The first: the locator that’s carried by the user captures audio that is later matched with the video. Usually drones just capture video, after all, the only audio you’d hear from the drone is the whir of its motors.

The second: through data from the position sensors, it attempts to figure out when you’re doing something particularly impressive and switches to a slow motion mode to make sure everything is captured.

But use it with care. The autonomous feature will allow the drone between 5 and 100 feet from its users, but won’t stop it hitting things.

“It has no obstacle avoidance, so it doesn’t know about trees. So as a user, you’d use it in outdoor environments like an open snowboarding run or surfing or a soccerfield. We’re hoping to introduce this in later versions of the product.”

The Lily Camera costs $499 during presales, which began on May 12. It will cost $999 when it goes on sale next year.

In San Francisco, Martyn Williams, IDG News Service