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Lily's smart camera drone racks up $34 million in pre-orders

There's a market for drones that follow you down the ski hill.

If you need proof that there's a market for camera drones that follow you around, you just got it in spades. Lily Robotics has revealed that its tag-along drone scooped up $34 million in pre-orders for 60,000 machines. That number may not sound huge next to smartphones selling in the millions, but it's gigantic for a robot in a relatively untested (and fairly niche) category. Also, none of the customers who responded to surveys had owned drones before -- these aren't just enthusiasts pouring money into their hobby.

Mind you, Lily likely needs that money more than ever. It pushed back its drone's launch from February to the summer to accommodate a round of hardware and software tweaks... and while it can't touch that pre-order cash until release, its private funding will only last for so long. It's not a resounding victory for camera drones just yet, then -- Lily will have to deliver on its promise first.