GoPro issues complete recall for Karma, its first-ever drone

The sky's not falling, but apparently the GoPro Karma is. Send it back.

While the world was watching to see the season finale of “America Votes,” GoPro had a little news of its own to share. Late Tuesday night, the company announced an official recall of its Karma drone, which rolled out in late October.

The $800 flying device can apparently lose power during operation—presumably causing it to come tumbling out of the sky. GoPro says the issue affected only a “small number of cases.” Nevertheless, GoPro still felt it was serious enough to recall every single Karma out there—and it won't give you a new one in exchange.

Around 2,500 Karma drones have been sold since launch. If you own one of the devices, GoPro wants you to cease using it immediately, pack it up, and return the drone directly to GoPro or the retailer you purchased it from for a full refund. Anyone who bought the Karma as part of a bundle with the Hero5 and Karma Grip will have to return all elements of the package to receive the full refund despite the fact that the Hero5 camera and Karma Grip are not part of the recall.

GoPro says it is working with the Federal Aviation Authority and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the recall. The company says it has received no reports of injury or property damage due to malfunctioning drones.

Despite the bad news, GoPro suggests the Karma will take flight again with shipments resuming “as soon as the issue is resolved.”

The story behind the story: In many ways it’s surprising it took GoPro so long to come up with a drone of its own. A flying mount for the company’s Hero line of action cameras—popular among adventure sports enthusiasts—is a no-brainer. GoPro had high hopes for the device especially after the company posted lackluster quarterly results in early November. For now, those hopes will have to be put on hold as the company works out some engineering issues, but there’s little doubt another drone is in GoPro’s future.

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Ian Paul

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