There was plenty of criticism levelled at GoPro’s first drone in the weeks after its release. Its flight time was down compared to the Mavic Pro’s. And it was incapable of avoiding obstacles. And it kept falling out of the sky. So nothing major. But one omission that was difficult to understand was the lack of a GPS tracking feature – something that almost every advanced camera drone delivers as standard these days.
The GoPro Karma’s New Tracking Features
A year after the original release, the GoPro Karma is now getting that tracking feature. The firmware update, rolled out yesterday along with the launch of GoPro’s new camera, the Hero6 Black, states the following:
Karma Drone v2.00
- Provides full support for HERO6 Black on Karma and in the GoPro Passenger App
- Adds Follow and Watch as Auto Shot Path options (using GPS for both)
- Allows Karma to fly through more points in the Cable Cam Auto Shot Path
- Allows the Camera Tilt wheel to point the camera above the horizon
- Adds localized voice alerts
- Adds visual design enhancements to improve the overall look and feel
It’s a nice touch for pilots that have been loyal to the Karma despite its dramatic first few weeks. A matter of days after the drone hit the shelves, it had to be recalled following a high number of incidents in which it randomly fell out of the sky. Now, with the problems ironed out and a new feature ready to go, perhaps it can finally begin to live up to the hype that preceded its launch.
It’s Still A Long Way Back For GoPro
The GoPro Karma’s new tracking features aren’t as sophisticated as DJI’s visual algorithms. Instead they rely on the GPS signal coming from the controller. ‘Watch’ is for when you want the drone to hover in place while keeping the controller in frame. ‘Follow’ is for when you want the drone to track your movements across the landscape.
A lot has happened in the industry since the original GoPro Karma hit the market. A week later, the Mavic Pro was launched. The next iteration, the Mavic Pro Platinum, is already available. Not to mention the DJI Spark and a host of competing products from the likes of Autel Robotics, Parrot, Yuneec and AirDog.
It’s going to be a long way back for the GoPro Karma series. But with continued updates and a second Karma on the way, it’s too soon to write off the company’s chances.