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Inside Drones (Nov 11th, 2016)

Today in drone news: GoPro recalls the Karma after midair stalls, Matrice 600 Pro, Alphabet exits Starbucks deal, Intel's Aero Ready To Fly Drone kit, Drone medical deliveries, Drone sausage deliveries

GoPro has recalled their Karma drone after reports of the drone losing power and falling from the sky. The Verge offers a video of a typical incident. The pattern seems to be a few minutes of flight time, followed by the motor cutting out. Curiously, in a few of the crash videos, the sound of the motor starting back up can be heard before impact. GoPro is huddling with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and the FAA to investigate what went wrong with the Karma. GoPro has set up part of its website to deal with refunds. – VERGE

Project Wing, part of Alphabet's X research lab, has pulled out of partnering with Starbucks, as a result of budget tightening. Dave Vos, who was heading up Alphabet's end of the Starbucks deal, left the project in October, and the Project Wing unit reportedly advised staff to find work elsewhere at Alphabet. The cutbacks are said to be part of Alphabet's larger plan to end riskier experimental projects and focus more on solidly profitable businesses. The fact that the FAA has not approved drone delivery yet is said to be a large factor in the decision, despite other technology companies moving forward with development of like projects. – BLOOMBERG

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Keller Rinaudo, CEO of drone startup Zipline, argues that drone delivery is most immediately useful in the realm of health care and the delivery of medical supplies. The company, which initiated drone deliveries of blood to clinics in western Rwanda last month, announced it has raised $25 million in funding from venture capital firms. The eventual plan is for Zipline to service 21 Rwandan clinics, with their drones flying as many as 150 delivery missions a day. Successful implementation of the Rwanda plan could clear the path for similar delivery in rural parts of the U.S. – RECODE

DJI has announced a new version of their pro-grade Matrice 600 hexacopter. With a $4,999 price tag, the Matrice 600 Pro boasts better flight time, expanded battery charging, and the capacity to carry a 13-pound Red Epic professional cinema camera. DJI expects to be able to ship for the holidays. – TC

Fortune profiles Helen Greiner, co-founder and chief technology officer for drone startup CyPhy Works, which is partnering with UPS on package delivery. Greiner previously co-founded iRobot, which produced the Roomba. The goal of the UPS partnership is to determine the most effective method for drone package delivery to remote locales. A recent trial run, from CyPhy's Massachusetts headquarters to a children's camp on island off the coast of Maine, took only eight minutes. – FORTUNE 

Intel will begin deliveries in December for their Aero Ready To Fly Drone build-it-yourself quadcopter kit. The kit, which is rumored to cost upwards of $600, comes fully loaded with drone parts, including a 3D RealSense camera. The drone works with Airmap's navigation kit and the whole thing is run by an Aero Compute Board, which Intel is also offering for stand-alone sale. – PCWORLD

The man who posted a viral video of a drone delivering a sausage could be facing a $9,000 fine from Australia's Civil Avaition Safety Authority. The video, which has since been pulled from YouTube, showed a drone flying over a residential area on its way to delivering said sausage to a man in a hot tub. The drone pilot who posted the video, identifying himself as Tim, called it "just a bit of fun" and claims shots from multiple flights were cropped and cut together to give the appearance of a single delivery flight. – UPI

FROM THE FORUMS

Users at the Drones sub-reddit are talking about the GoPro Karma recall, and their own similar stall-and-crash experiences with other brands. 

ThatOneGuy4321 writes, "Wow. I don't think the Karma's launch could have gone any worse. Absolute unmitigated disaster. They got the carpet pulled out from under them by the Mavic, and now it turns out their drones will randomly fall out of the sky, turning them into extreme safety hazards. It's a good time to short GoPro stock, I suppose."

Sacrot 2 says, "To be honest dji phantoms did the same thing. They just never recalled them because they were foreign. I have video of my phantom 2 doing it." RaddIce responds, "My Phantom 2 took a 200 foot tumble after the power shut off, O-F-F!" Sacrot 2 adds, "They called them user error. Trust me, mine was not user error."

TheLionhell notes, "This is why in France, regulation forces you to have a parachute when over public zone."

Truearawaco looks on the bright side: "Well, at least the camera passed the crash test!"

Elsewhere, member _Red_Skies_ shares some spectacular footage of the fall colors in Randolph, New Jersey. 


 

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