Personal Drones are the Next “Pepper Spray”

Mike Gillam, 14 May 2015

Today, personal quadrotor drones range from micro

…to the macro

…with flight capabilities that exceed human’s ability to pilot them.


The latest entrant into this steady march of drone capability is Lily – a personal drone that follows and films you on your adventures. Lily resembles other “selfie cam drones” like the AirDog or the PocketDrone.

Users carry a small tracking device, throw the Lily drone into the air, and Lily will film you in one of three methods. Lily is 10 inches in size, waterproof, and can fly for 20 minutes before needing to recharge.

Today, Lily costs $499 for pre-orders.

Yet, the trend seems clear. Given the shrinking size of drones, the lengthening of battery life, and the shrinking of multi-megapixel CCD camera technology, the possibilities of the personal drone expand.

Today, joggers worried about their safety can carry pepper spray. Yet in the future, one can imagine how much more effective a personal drone might be. A personal drone would hover and film as you jogged. Any assailants would be filmed. Voice activation to “call the police” could immediately begin beaming video to security or 911police services. Personal drones could even continue to follow assailants away from the scene of any crime at a height making it difficult to disable for any but a sharpshooter. One can imagine pursuit on foot could be replaced by officers throwing just a few drones into the air to track a suspect and beam back their GPS coordinates. No longer would entire helicopters be needed.

As prices plummet and “selfie cam” drones shrink to the size to fit in a purse – personal drones may be the safer choice over paper spray.

By Mike Gillam, MD, FACEP May, 2015

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