NEWS: People are complaining that their new DJI drones are falling out of the sky

NEWS: People are complaining that their new DJI drones are falling out of the sky

July 25, 2017

The DJI Spark, the smallest and most affordable consumer drone that the Chinese manufacturer has released, seems to be having flight problems that could have dangerous side-effects.

On DJI’s support forum, multiple users—Quartz counted at least 14 separate complaints across two forum posts—have reported that while they were flying, their Spark drones have switched off and fallen like rocks out of the sky. In some cases, the drones were close to the ground and were easy for their owners to retrieve and send diagnostic information to DJI, but in others, the drones crash landed in thick woods, or, in a couple of instances, in lakes.

One forum member posted a video of their drone losing connection while they were still flying:

Quartz gave the Spark a very favorable review after it was released in May for its portability, and how simple it was to fly and take photos. But in testing, Quartz had issues where the wifi connection between the $499 device and the cellphone controlling it was cut, causing the drone to wander listlessly in the air. Thankfully, DJI’s drones come equipped with technology that allows them to remember where they took off from, and, after they lose connection to their controller, they will eventually return.

Quartz gave the Spark a very favorable review after it was released in May for its portability, and how simple it was to fly and take photos. But in testing, Quartz had issues where the wifi connection between the $499 device and the cellphone controlling it was cut, causing the drone to wander listlessly in the air. Thankfully, DJI’s drones come equipped with technology that allows them to remember where they took off from, and, after they lose connection to their controller, they will eventually return.

It’s not clear whether the issue is widespread—every new consumer electronics product tends to have a few faulty units—even a relatively small issue can have grave consequences for a business. Samsung eventually issued a global recall for its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, with airports and airlines around the world banning them after only about 112 caught fire.

Update July 15: DJI provided an updated statement to Quartz:

DJI is aware of a small number of reports involving Spark drones that have lost power mid-flight. Flight safety and product reliability are top priorities. Our engineers are thoroughly reviewing each customer case and working to address this matter urgently.

DJI products are tested for thousands of hours, and the overwhelming number of customers enjoy using our products with minimal disruption.

We are looking to implement additional safeguards with a firmware update which will be issued soon. When prompted on the DJI GO 4 App, we recommend all customers to connect to the internet and update their aircraft’s firmware to ensure a safe flight when flying their Spark.



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