The voluntary recall was announced on November 11 and covers approximately 2,500 Karma drones sold since October 23, 2016.
GoPro said that in a “small number of cases,” Karma drones lost power during operation. The company is investigating the issue. No one has reported injuries or property damage.
Videos show the drones in the air for 1-3 minutes before the motor suddenly cuts out. In one video, the drone comes within inches of hitting a person on the ground.
GoPro recalled the malfunctioning drones voluntarily. During the process, the company discovered that no government agency has the authority to require a recall.
GoPro tried working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government agency that normally handles product recalls.
GoPro spokesman Jeff Brown told the CPSC, “It looks like there’s a statutory carveout for aviation,” but the agency said it does not have jurisdiction over drone recalls.
GoPro also contacted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a government agency that regulates how drones can be flown and “certifies” aircraft. FAA also said it has no authority over drone recalls.
Consumer Reports said the issue raises oversight questions:
If a similar failure was to affect a drone made by a company that was less responsive to consumer safety, would any government agency step in to try and get the products off the market?”
GoPro is asking customers to immediately stop using Karma drones, even if they have not experienced any issues. Customers should return the $800 drones for a full refund, along with accessories like the HERO5 camera and Karma Grip. No original receipt is necessary.