The camera drone start-up, Lily Robotics, was a much talked about venture by a company who launched back in 2015. Their promotional video blew everybody’s socks off with what they made the new gadget look like it could achieve.
The camera appeared to be able to follow you wherever you went, and when pre orders were made available, millions of folks came forward to reserve one.However, after hitting some developmental snags, the company made the unexpected announcement that it was going to close for business. Not a single drone had been sold. They went on to release a statement about refunding those who had placed pre orders, but what exactly went wrong? Was the Lily camera drone a failure that had potential, or just a fantastic flop?
Lawsuits filed against the Lily camera:
On the 12th Jan – the exact same day that the company announced they were closing their doors for business – a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the people of California. The suit alleged that the company responsible for creating the Lily camera drone, produced a promotional video that was purposefully misleading and led viewers to believe that the drone had capabilities far beyond what it truly had. They also accused the company of using a GoPro camera and a manually operated drone from another company, to shoot the footage and give a false impression of the Lily drone.
Unfeasible shipping estimates and rule violations:
The promotional video was also accused of showing a company that gave its customers completely unfeasible shipping estimations, that was in violation of several rules because of this, and had no workable system in place to cope with the huge numbers of international orders that it received.
A video that went viral:
The promotional video was viewed millions of times and orders for the camera drone reflected this interest, with more than 25 million dollars raised in pre-order sales in the six weeks after the video was released in 2015.
A product that was never shipped to anyone, anywhere:
After all the hype surrounding the Lily camera drone, not even a single product was ever shipped to any customers, anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, promises were still being made to those customers that they’re much anticipated new gadget would soon arrive.
The lawsuit claimed that in fact, Lily Robotics didn’t even have a prototype of the wonder gadget with all the features that it was shown of having in the promotional video, when it was shot, and that they used prototypes for advertising purposes.
So, was the Lily camera drone a fantastic failure?
This is a tough question to give a definitive answer to. It’s clear that if the Lily camera drone could really do all the things that it claimed it could – and which were clearly shown in the promotional video – then it would have been a resounding success and not a flop. But, it seems that the drone was not capable of performing the amazing feats seen in the video, otherwise surely the product itself would have been used? Did this mean that the company had lied about what their product was capable of, or did they simply run out of funds to continue experimenting with the drone?
The answer to this is still not clear, and while Lily Robotics stated that it would refund all the pre orders as quickly as possible, why they couldn’t raise more funds from investors to continue developing the gadget, is a mystery.