We've covered more than a few crowdfunding campaigns for drones in the last few years, but none have garnered quite the fanfare nor the cash of the much-hyped Lily camera drone. Promising autonomous flight and shooting modes after simply being tossed into the air, its makers are set to deliver on neither after today announcing they will be winding down operations.
When it comes to consumer drones with a high-level of autonomy, Lily was very much an early mover when it opened up preorders back in May 2015. Well, so it seemed anyway. Racking up a massive US$34 million in funding in the process, the company appeared as well placed as any drone startup to fly through production and bring its aircraft to the masses.
But after much delay, the company announced today in a blog post that it will be shutting down and offering refunds to its customers. It says it has been working against "a clock of ever-diminishing funds," and in the last few months has made one final push to secure further investment and manufacture its first units, but to no avail.
The news is sure to disappoint the 60,000 or so people to preorder the drone. The company does emphasize, however, that it is offering refunds to every last one by returning money to the credit card used for the original transaction. For those whose cards have expired, they will need to fill out a form (details via the source link below).
Lily drone isn't the first crowdfunding campaign to flop, and it won't be the last, but does go to show that even the most cashed up of inventors can struggle to overcome the bumps on the road to a real-world product.