Everybody is super excited about affordable, portable autonomous drones this year. Well, affordable might be stretch. The badass new DJI Inspire costs $2,900, but it can fly around shooting video in 4K without any help. One problem: A bug in the firmware is making Inspire drift randomly—and crash.
Just ask Mark Taylor. The experienced drone pilot recently bought DJI's expensive new masterpiece and was excited to use the drone's auto-takeoff feature to "do a house fly-by for real estate." (This is potentially illegal, but we won't tell.) After experiencing some "shimming and drifting," Taylor decided to film a flight so that he could send the feedback to DJI. "This happened with no operator input just in auto take off mode," he said in the video's YouTube description. What happened? The flying robot almost took out his wife!
In an email to Gizmodo, DJI confirmed that there was an issue with the Inspire's firmware. (We can only assume that this dangerous random drifting is related.) The company said that its "product support team has noted the issue and is currently taking care of it." A fix is due to be released in the next 24 to 36 hours.
Nevertheless, Mark Taylor's scary video is a great reason not to trust your supposedly autonomous drone. We've already seen how problematic human drone pilots can be—and more problems are surely to come. We've also had our own problems with DJI's earlier autonomous flight features in the past.
GIF by Michael Hession