DJI confirmed an issue with the Inspire's firmware...

You might have seen this video before. Recently there's been some rumours about IMU issues of the new DJI drone Inspire.

The company just confirmed the issue, and they are fixing it in a hurry. It might never happened, if it was an open source software ;), just saying.

Don't Trust Your Expensive Autonomous Drone to Always Be Autonomous 

Everybody is super excited about affordable, portable autonomous drones this year. Well, affordable might be stretch. The badass new DJI Inspire costs $2,900, but it can fly around shooting video in 4K without any help. One problem: A bug in the firmware is making Inspire drift randomly—and crash.

Just ask Mark Taylor. The experienced drone pilot recently bought DJI's expensive new masterpiece and was excited to use the drone's auto-takeoff feature to "do a house fly-by for real estate." (This is potentially illegal, but we won't tell.) After experiencing some "shimming and drifting," Taylor decided to film a flight so that he could send the feedback to DJI. "This happened with no operator input just in auto take off mode," he said in the video's YouTube description. What happened? The flying robot almost took out his wife!

In an email to Gizmodo, DJI confirmed that there was an issue with the Inspire's firmware. (We can only assume that this dangerous random drifting is related.) The company said that its "product support team has noted the issue and is currently taking care of it." A fix is due to be released in the next 24 to 36 hours.

Nevertheless, Mark Taylor's scary video is a great reason not to trust your supposedly autonomous drone. We've already seen how problematic human drone pilots can be—and more problems are surely to comeWe've also had our own problems with DJI's earlier autonomous flight features in the past. 

Your very expensive new toy may say it can fly itself, but do steer clear of those propellors. You never know when your drone will get a mind of its own. [YouTube via Daily Dot]



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Comment by DG on January 21, 2015 at 6:13pm

The question was asked in the DJI form on RCG: "Was this fixed?"


Yes, if you have the current software and firmware this can't happen any more. The new firmware won't let you take off if the IMU is not calibrated. Once the IMU is calibrated it will fly level when there is no GPS signal.

DJI said that during shipping the IMU can become uncalibrated. Many aircraft (including mine) did not fly level in ATTI mode. Basic calibration did not solve the problem, only advanced calibration did. Current android software has removed the basic calibration and now only allows the advanced calibration option.

On the down side the latest firmware greatly increased the error detection in the compass and now some users and having the GPS/compass sensors stop working from time to time during flight.

@Darrell- Do we really want to make this hobby unaffordable? If a requirement, that means some bureaucrat will decide who is qualified....oh yes, another government agency there "for the little guy". 

Comment by Darrell Burkey on January 21, 2015 at 6:27pm

@ DG - That's a good point. But if these devices are a danger to the public then do we have any choice? Imagine driving down the road and having one come through your windshield. It's only a matter of time.

Comment by Julien Dubois on January 22, 2015 at 5:08am

Great tool to bend garage doors!

Comment by Chuck on January 22, 2015 at 6:40am

I have done quite a bit of flying on ArduCopter/Pilot platforms and I can attest to this not being the norm. I have had issues with APM (and all other FCUs), but one thing I can say, every issue I have ever had is experienced on or shortly after takeoff and is almost always the result of a hardware/software configuration issue. Most failures can be saved with proper piloting skill. I believe the only issue I ever had with a beta firmware was dealing with waypoint navigation via a tablet. APM is an amazingly advanced and open platform.

I do agree though that most of the users of this price point platform are looking for something that they don't have to spend hours making sure everything is configured properly before the first flight. Personally I would never use an auto-mode on a first flight but that is just me.

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on January 23, 2015 at 3:58pm

I read about this on RCGroups, and the bug is a lean (bad IMU offset) at takeoff. And as told by another person who experienced the same bug, it just required a little opposite stick to prevent it from flying away. But I guess that is to much to ask from the average drone pilot these days... *sigh*

Comment by Nue-AV on January 24, 2015 at 2:00pm

how dare you suggest someone operate their craft....the imu bug would say it was calibrated even if the mod values were off. We picked up an inspire to goof off with, and when we calibrated the imu and saw a incorrect reading, we recal'ed and problem was solved. Now I know these are marketed to mostly beginners, but the videos and comments that come out are unbelievable.....some really just expect them to fly themselves.
Comment by Nue-AV on January 24, 2015 at 2:03pm
Edit: fyi, the first sentence was supposed to come across sarcastic....not sure if I really hit the mark


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