Entertainment

Lily drone a lie? Company behind high-tech flying camera sued over allegedly fake promo video

If it wasn’t for the emoji-like smiley face on the front, the Lily would be something right out of the Terminator franchise.

Facebook/Lily Robotics

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

That old adage is front and centre in Silicon Valley this week after the company behind a high-tech robot drone collapsed, leaving customers without the flying gizmo they were promised.

Startup Lily Robotics claimed their tiny black drone could fly unaided and follow you around – for a maximum of 20 minutes – whether you were out for a casual stroll or snowboarding down a mountain.

A promotional video showed the Lily tracking users through snow, wind and water, coming to a rest on the their hand when finished, seemingly by magic. An impressive demonstration, except that it was – allegedly – totally fake.

In a newly filed consumer protection lawsuit, the San Francisco District Attorney's office says the footage used to promote Lily was actually filmed entirely with other drones, according to Forbes. The suit alleges that the company intentionally lied to potential customers through the video, and calls for a temporary order to prevent the company from conducting business.

Startup Lily Robotics' final Twitter messages, from December 2016, aim to reassure nervous customers the company is still “finalizing our international shipping timeline” and plans to ship in early 2017.

If it wasn’t for the emoji-like smiley face on the front, the Lily would be something right out of the Terminator franchise. And unfortunately for the would-be customers who handed $34 million to Lily Robotics, it looks like their own personal Skynet servant won’t be online anytime soon.

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