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Lily Robotics, the start-up behind the self-flying camera drone, recently announced the size of their pre-order campaign that started eight months ago. The San Francisco-based company, which defines itself as the maker of autonomously steered flying camera drones for photography-minded people, was started by Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow in 2013 in the UC Berkeley robotics lab.
At the CES 2016, Balaresque revealed they had earned $34m (£23.2m,€31.3m) in pre-orders. He added that shipping, originally slated for February 2016, will start in the summer. In December 2015, the start-up raised $15m in a Series A round of funding from Spark Capital, the Winkelvoss twins and former football great Joe Montana.
While they won the coveted CES 2016 Innovation award, the working version of the Lily camera drone was not showcased at the event. Instead, they just met clients in a suite.
Their drone has a HD-capable waterproof camera that can capture video in slow motion. Once launched, it flies and follows the user who is expected to carry a tool, which doubles as a tracking device and an audio recorder. In simple terms it could be considered as a responsive, airborne GoPro. To launch it, a user has to toss the drone into the air like a Frisbee and to make it land, the user has to extend the arm outward, according to Re/code.
Balaresque, who disclosed that they hated the term "drone", said that their product's real selling point was its simple controls as compared to the complex ones required to fly most current aerial cameras. "We just want an easy-to-use autonomous camera. For us, tech accessibility is not a downgrade".
While the current pre-order price of this drone is $799, it will cost $999 when it is actually released. A few drones showcased at CES 2016 include Ehang's human carrying drone and Intel's Yuneec Typhoon H drone.