I won’t blame you for not noticing, but on Tuesday, GoPro issued a recall for all of its new Karma drones. They were pulled from the market because, as GoPro said, they could suffer an unexpected power loss.
This is a nice way of saying that they just randomly fall out of the sky. If you think that sounds terrifying, just wait until you see the videos of the crashes.
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PetaPixel found that a quick search of YouTube for “GoPro,” “Karma” and “crash” throws up some rather interesting results. Specifically, a bunch of videos of GoPros dying mid-flight and falling to the ground.
You can see the same failure in all the videos. The drones are flying normally and responding to controls, in almost all cases close to the pilot. Then, all of a sudden, you can hear the motors fail. It’s a definite loss of power, as opposed to some loss of sensor control or remote control.
It’s also crazy dangerous. In the video above, you can see how close the drone comes to people as it falls. A drone falling onto a person, even without the propellers spinning, is inherently dangerous. Quadrotors aren’t like RC planes; if they lose power, they have the aerodynamic properties of a plastic brick, and fall to ground instantly.
GoPro has recalled all 2,500 Karma drones that it’s sold so far, and is telling customers to not fly them, and return them for a full refund.