GoPro’s Karma drone is returning to store shelves after a three-month-long recall. The company announced in a press release that it has fixed the issue that nearly doomed its quadcopter, and that Karma is going back on sale today at GoPro.com and with “select US retailers” including Best Buy, B&H, and Amazon.
Pricing remains the same: the Karma drone will sell for $799 with no camera or $1,099 with a Hero 5 Black in the US. GoPro is also offering a version with of Karma without a stabilizer for $599, since the company began selling Karma’s removable stabilizer separately while the drone was not for sale. The camera company also says shipments will be limited at first, and that Karma will be available internationally later this spring.
Karma was recalled just weeks after going on sale in October 2016 because some of the 2,500 units sold fell out of the sky mid-flight. GoPro attributed the problem to a fault in the design of the latch that holds the drone’s battery in place. This led to loose battery connections that caused several drones to power down while in the sky, resulting in some spectacular crashes. The company says the updated Karma drones have a redesigned battery latch that went through “extensive testing” that should prevent future failures.
“We’re a little bit embarrassed that it was something as basic as a battery retention issue,” GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said at a small press gathering at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. “But at the same time we’re relieved that we can show the world that we do understand drones, we do understand the technology, and that it was an unfortunate mechanical engineering slip-up that led to the recall of Karma.”
Meanwhile, GoPro’s stock price remains low, and it laid off 15 percent of its workforce after the recall in November. It was the company’s second round of layoffs in 2016. GoPro will report on its fourth quarter earnings from 2016 later this week.
Dr. Hans C. Mumm