GoPro’s first consumer drone, the Karma, had a rough start and has since performed poorly against competitors. One year on from its release, GoPro is finally rectifying one of its biggest flaws: the lack of a GPS Follow-Me function.
So far, GoPro’s first steps into the consumer drone market have been disappointing. And it’s been that way since the beginning. Despite an enormous amount of hype and marketing in the build-up to launch day, the drone community was left feeling underwhelmed when the GoPro Karma was unveiled this time last year.
And things went from bad to worse, fast. One week later, DJI launched the Mavic Pro, a foldable drone that managed to outdo the Karma in almost every category (apart from price and modularity). And just as GoPro stocks had already begun to sink, the recall happened. A matter of days after the first Karmas reached pre-orderers, they started falling out of the sky for no reason.
GoPro’s Karma Being Displayed at CES 2017
Of course there was a reason: a hardware issue was causing the battery to randomly disconnect during flight. Not ideal for a drone carrying an expensive camera. The Karma was re-released this year with that technical issue solved. But that didn’t change the fact that it was a drone far less advanced than its nearest rivals.
Sure, it’s a modular drone that does something nothing else on the market can do. It’s effectively three gadgets in one: a drone, a camera and a stabilization stick. But approaching it from the drone perspective, many were disappointed at the lack of features, particularly for a drone focused on the adventure photography market. It couldn’t avoid obstacles, lacked many of the safety features found in DJI’s Phantom range and couldn’t even track its subject.
Is GoPro Rolling Out a Karma Follow-Me Update Next Week?
According to a post on Photo Rumors, it looks as though GoPro preparing for two interesting announcements next week. First will be a product launch: The new GoPro Hero 6 Black, a 12mp camera capable of shooting 4K at 60fps. Second, and of more interest to current and potential GoPro Karma pilots, is this:
A screenshot with details of the next Karma update, mistakenly placed on the GoPro website.
From the shot above, it looks like from September 28th the GoPro Karma will be able to track its user. Finally. This capability will be as ‘Follow’ and ‘Watch’ in the Auto Shot camera mode.
It also means that pilots can spend more time looking awesome while being filmed and less time staring down at their controller.
There’s no doubt that the GoPro Karma will remain behind its rivals from DJI, even with this follow-me feature added. But it’s a start, and a positive step for a company that many thought was already dead and buried in the consumer drone industry.