Author Topic: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales  (Read 14454 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« on: January 12, 2017, 06:30:38 am »
The Lily Drone company has folded, admitted defeat, and will not deliver after 3 years, $30M in pre-sales, $15M in VC funding.

 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 07:36:45 am »
Slightly off topic alert, anyone got tips for reducing wind noise should I ever get around to doing a few outside videos, this one sounded like an aircraft was trying to land or something.   :D
 

Online MasterTech

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 07:40:11 am »
I hope the Sprite drone eventually succeeds, as their portable design is interesting
 

Offline jpc

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 07:44:27 am »
Slightly off topic alert, anyone got tips for reducing wind noise should I ever get around to doing a few outside videos, this one sounded like an aircraft was trying to land or something.   :D

Animal fur wrapped around the mic is good.
 

Offline MrAureliusR

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 07:51:33 am »
Hey Dave, can you post the email here so we can read it?
I'm curious to see what they sent out as there is NO information on their website, twitter or facebook..
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Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2017, 07:56:55 am »
 

Offline jpc

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 08:17:30 am »
The UK's Gadget Show programme on Channel 5 recently did a small piece casually trialling three 'follow me drones' that are available now, one uses a wristband, one your mobiles GPS and one uses image recognition and object avoidance. The latter did the best but all ultimately failed. The best appeared relatively OK in open ground but failed as soon as it came to avoiding things like trees on the side of the path taken by the person being followed. I can't remember the makes of the ones being tried out now as I was only half watching and only remembered it on seeing this latest vlog but if anybody is interested it is on YouTube. Search for Follow me drones comparison.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 08:20:28 am by jpc »
 

Offline borjam

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 08:49:03 am »

Animal fur wrapped around the mic is good.
:)

R0de (an Australian brand of microphones) sells a very reasonable priced zeppelin and dead wombat set called "blimp". In case you want to use a long shotgun microphone they even sell an extension.

 

Offline Barny

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 09:16:26 am »
I normally don't back hardware projects.
The risk of unexpected (expensive) problems are way to high.

Even at software projects, I take a good look before I give my hard earned money.
I only backed RadicalFishGames (Cross Code) and other small game - developer at the moment.
And all running projects looking good at the moment.

[Edit]
The only hardware project I support at the moment is the "Pyra".
(A modular, Linux based handheld console / pocket netbook)
And it looks like it will be ready to ship this year.
And well, I didn't had do pay the whole money in advance.
[/Edit]
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 09:23:15 am by Barny »
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2017, 03:06:35 pm »
This refund thing happened to other projects as well, like CastAR. Money making idea: Create a cool Kickstarter project, get lots of money, invest for a year, get interest rate, refund >:D
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Online Fred27

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2017, 04:11:00 pm »
Why bother with a refund? Taking the money and running seems to be a perfectly OK business model with no comeback. I was stung with the agent smart watch (by Chris Walker - the guy who created the Netduino). He walked away with $1m.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2017, 04:15:09 pm »
This refund thing happened to other projects as well, like CastAR. Money making idea: Create a cool Kickstarter project, get lots of money, invest for a year, get interest rate, refund >:D
The difference with CastAR is that they will still ship 3D glasses to those who got a refund.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2017, 05:01:11 pm »
The difference with CastAR is that they will still ship 3D glasses to those who got a refund.

Well, I backed it and got my refund, but still no CastAR. Last Kickstarter update was more than a year ago, with the refund message, before this they wrote updates at least every month. Same as with the Lily Drone could happen to CastAR: No more VC funding, maybe because of Microsoft's HoloLens, and then that's it. Initial estimated delivery was September 2014. Incidentally Playground Global funded $15M into CastAR, same VC money Lily Drones got. Is this some standard VC amount?
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Offline jolshefsky

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2017, 05:31:42 pm »
So $45,000,000 profit? Sounds like they won capitalism to me.
May your deeds return to you tenfold.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2017, 05:35:29 pm »
The difference with CastAR is that they will still ship 3D glasses to those who got a refund.

Well, I backed it and got my refund, but still no CastAR. Last Kickstarter update was more than a year ago, with the refund message, before this they wrote updates at least every month. Same as with the Lily Drone could happen to CastAR: No more VC funding, maybe because of Microsoft's HoloLens, and then that's it. Initial estimated delivery was September 2014. Incidentally Playground Global funded $15M into CastAR, same VC money Lily Drones got. Is this some standard VC amount?
Why would they make any updates on kickstarter? Everyone who wanted got a refund, game over. Also they explicitly said that with venture funding coming in, they cannot reveal much of the details anymore. Also they said that it won't be released till 2017, and will be a different product from what was originally planned.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 05:37:17 pm by wraper »
 

Offline 2N3055

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2017, 06:14:30 pm »
Slightly off topic alert, anyone got tips for reducing wind noise should I ever get around to doing a few outside videos, this one sounded like an aircraft was trying to land or something.   :D

Windshield for a microphone ?  Foam or a zeppelin type... That is, if you have a separate mike... For mikes integrated in camera, I'we seen people glueing a piece of foam over mike opening... Sometimes it works surprisingly well..

Cheers.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2017, 06:32:16 pm »
Why would they make any updates on kickstarter? Everyone who wanted got a refund, game over. Also they explicitly said that with venture funding coming in, they cannot reveal much of the details anymore. Also they said that it won't be released till 2017, and will be a different product from what was originally planned.

This sounds strange, why would a VC forbid this for CastAR? Something like "we are on track, got first pre-production units, shipping still expected in 2017" doesn't reveal anything they didn't say already. They even didn't wrote about their new CEO and COO, which joined the company in 2016. I would have expected a bit more information, if they really care about their backers, as they wrote in their last update, because some people (like me) might think about writing games for it, but if the release date is uncertain, might postpone this.

See for example the Lily Drone blog, every few days an update til mid December 2016:

https://www.lily.camera/updates/

Hey Dave, can you post the email here so we can read it?
I'm curious to see what they sent out as there is NO information on their website, twitter or facebook..

https://www.lily.camera/adventure-comes-end/

I really wonder how they can do the refunds if they don't have the money for the production. Shouldn't it be less money for production than what you got from the buyers?
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Offline Fungus

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2017, 06:34:31 pm »
Why bother with a refund? Taking the money and running seems to be a perfectly OK business model with no comeback. I was stung with the agent smart watch (by Chris Walker - the guy who created the Netduino). He walked away with $1m.

Yes, I suspect that what really happened is that they stopped all R&D when they suddenly had $45 million of party-party money in their bank accounts. Those new sports cars won't find their handling limits all by themselves.  :popcorn:

The drone doesn't look that difficult to make, it's just two GPS units, wireless communications, a bit of math. Three years and $15 million should easily have covered it.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 06:37:24 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline BMF

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2017, 07:05:06 pm »
It seems they could have at least delivered the basic hardware. If it was a camera drone by remote and was good they would still have a company. If they made the tracking work later they could release an update. If they can't offer a refund or hardware I hope someone audits the company and makes it public. These kinds of fails make it tougher for others to get funding.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2017, 07:18:31 pm »
The drone doesn't look that difficult to make, it's just two GPS units, wireless communications, a bit of math. Three years and $15 million should easily have covered it.

There are lots of interesting problems. Even the big competitor DJI with its Phantoms didn't get it 100% right, like if there are some leaves in the way when the drone follows you, the props will try to do some garden work on it. And sometimes it loses you. But works pretty good in an open environment with no trees or other obstacles. There are some videos of it following a car.

It is a bit simpler for the Lily drone to follow you, because of the tracking device, but still complicated enough. And as I read on the webpage, no mechanical camera gimbal. This won't work for high quality videos.
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Offline Fungus

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2017, 07:43:04 pm »
It is a bit simpler for the Lily drone to follow you, because of the tracking device, but still complicated enough.

Every third-person video game in the last 15 years has had camera tracking code in it.

Trees in the way? Just put "only for use in large open spaces" on the box.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2017, 08:17:06 pm »
Every third-person video game in the last 15 years has had camera tracking code in it.

Trees in the way? Just put "only for use in large open spaces" on the box.

Even for games it is not that easy. Search for "game camera bug" on Youtube, 120,000 results :)
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Offline Don Hills

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2017, 12:38:52 am »
Windshield for a microphone ?  Foam or a zeppelin type... That is, if you have a separate mike... For mikes integrated in camera, I'we seen people glueing a piece of foam over mike opening... Sometimes it works surprisingly well..

Cheers.

Go to Youtube, search "video camera microphone fur".

Get a snippet of faux fur cloth from a fabric shop (ask Mrs EEVBlog). Cut it a bit larger than the microphone area and stick it on around the edges. See the Youtube videos. Might be a bit tricky with very small action type cameras with just a tiny hole in the front for a microphone.
 

Offline timb

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2017, 01:08:38 am »
The drone doesn't look that difficult to make, it's just two GPS units, wireless communications, a bit of math. Three years and $15 million should easily have covered it.

There are lots of interesting problems. Even the big competitor DJI with its Phantoms didn't get it 100% right, like if there are some leaves in the way when the drone follows you, the props will try to do some garden work on it. And sometimes it loses you. But works pretty good in an open environment with no trees or other obstacles. There are some videos of it following a car.

It is a bit simpler for the Lily drone to follow you, because of the tracking device, but still complicated enough. And as I read on the webpage, no mechanical camera gimbal. This won't work for high quality videos.

You're right, the quality wouldn't be 4K Ultra Mega Maxi Super Turbo HD like a Phantom with a gimbal and a GoPro, but using using a FishEye lens and doing pan/tilt in software can be surprisingly effective. I've got a Parrot Bebop and the video quality is alright.

The other advantage to a software gimbal is no moving parts, which makes the drone lighter and much more robust. Also a lot cheaper, too.

I've crashed mine a number of times (owing to inexplicable disconnects which I think I've finally fixed), one of the crashes involved it automatically "returning home" after a disconnect. Unfortunate home turned out to be some pine trees on the edge of a field, where I had taken off from. It gracefully flew back, but because the GPS didn't have a full 3D fix when I took off, it overshot by about 10m, putting it right over said trees where it started to descend, then hit every branch on the way down. The only thing that broke was one of the plastic feet. I'm glad the return to home feature worked, because when I initially lost control of it, it was hovering 200ft over a pond!
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Offline gmb42

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Re: eevRANT: Lily Drones Folds After $30M In Pre-Sales
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2017, 12:41:14 pm »
The other advantage to a software gimbal is no moving parts, which makes the drone lighter and much more robust. Also a lot cheaper, too.

I've crashed mine a number of times (owing to inexplicable disconnects which I think I've finally fixed), one of the crashes involved it automatically "returning home" after a disconnect. Unfortunate home turned out to be some pine trees on the edge of a field, where I had taken off from. It gracefully flew back, but because the GPS didn't have a full 3D fix when I took off, it overshot by about 10m, putting it right over said trees where it started to descend, then hit every branch on the way down. The only thing that broke was one of the plastic feet. I'm glad the return to home feature worked, because when I initially lost control of it, it was hovering 200ft over a pond!

/rant

And as an RC flyer this makes me very afraid that folks are "flying" such devices in public.  If a flying club member had a model or transmitter behaving in such a manner they would NOT be allowed to fly their model(s) until they had demonstrated they had fixed it, usually by means of long range on-ground testing.

Manufacturers by creating such ill-behaved devices, and users (not necessarily you timb) that then don't take responsible steps (i.e. by ground testing and having insurance) to ascertain device safety are going to kill unlicensed personal drone use along with airborne RC flying.

/end rant
 
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