Sunday, March 18, 2012

Drone Uses GPS to Record Your Videos


Drones are pretty cool, but I have to admit that I’ve never really seen any particular reason to invest in one. They are super expensive, hard to maneuver (judging by the hundreds of drone crash videos I’ve seen), there are all kinds of legal considerations as to where you can fly, and they just don’t seem all that useful for your average person.

However, today I saw a video for Lily, a video-recording, photo-snapping, GPS-guided drone that is designed to be durable, pretty small (all things considered), extremely simple to use, and I totally want one. Lily is still in production and is expected to be shipped in February of 2016. 

With Lily, all you have to do is throw it in the air, and the drone will immediately start flying and recording. The device is programmed to fly no closer than 5 feet above your head (probably around 11-12 feet from the ground), no faster than 25 mph and no more than 50 feet in the air, meaning that users won’t have to worry about keeping track of the slightly complicated FAA guidelines for airspace height restriction. Flying around airports is also illegal, and unfortunately Lily won’t keep track of that, but it still removes a lot of the hassle.

The drone tracks users via GPS, honing in on a small circular receiver which allows users to quickly send commands to Lily, who can record from any number of ways including leading, following or looping around users. Not only will this help provide with better videos that will allow users to not worry, but it also removes some of the hazards of manual operation. Lily does not have object avoidance, however, so you’ll want to be careful where you set it to record. Users can make the drone hover with the click of a button, however.  Click here to read other Lily FAQs.

Here’s a video from the makers showing how Lily will work:

There are two possible downsides I can see to Lily, and by and far the largest is the short battery life that seems to plague most newer technologies. Lily takes 2 hours to fully charge and all of the information on the site indicates that the device will be able to shoot for about 20 minutes before being forced to land and recharge.

The other downside is definitely the price. Users can preorder Lily for a limited time for around $500, but once the preorder season is over, the device will cost a whopping $1000. That’s a little over my budget for a fly-along cameraman, but I can’t say that I’m not excited to see a company making drone use so user-friendly.

So, would you use a drone like this or would you rather have one that you can control entirely? I’ve never used a drone, so I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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