A GoPro Karma drone smashed through the window of a 66-year-old lady living on the 27th floor of 20 Waterside Plaza in Manhattan, New York. The woman was working on a computer when the drone smashed right through her window and fell within 4 feet of her. Currently, the Police and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the accident. They are planning to use the drone’s serial number to locate the drone owner in the FAA’s database.
It could have been any other drone, but it was the GoPro Karma
Yes, it could have been any other drone. But let’s take a look at this issue from the technical point of view.
First of all, we know that GoPro Karma proved itself to be an unreliable drone when it started falling from the sky for no good reason in November 2016.
Second, GoPro Karma has no obstacle avoidance. Other drones like the Phantom and Mavic have obstacle avoidance. They can’t recognize transparent glass, but at least those drones could recognize the window frame and stop automatically.
Lastly, the pilot probably didn’t fly into the poor lady’s window intentionally. We know that flying drones close to buildings can cause some magnetic interference that will influence the drone’s compass. Sometimes this leads the drones to get out of control and fly erratically. Most drones, such as the Mavic and Phantom, have 2 compasses and IMUs for better redundancy. Unfortunately, the Karma only has 1 compass, like the drones from 2-3 years ago, so that might have caused the incident.
We don’t have all the details yet, but we do know the specs and reliability record of GoPro’s Karma. From that, we can assume that the Karma is more likely to wind up in a situation like this.
But of course, the most important factor here is the irresponsible pilot. Please don’t be like that guy! Fly responsibly, and you’ll be less likely to end up in the news.
Thank you for reading!