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Karma Flight School: Karma vs. Front Yard Tree

Shon

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Intro:
In this series of threads, I will be analyzing crash videos in an effort to learn more about the limitations of technology in the Karma Drone, and how to avoid such issues myself. Hopefully such analysis will help us all fly better and avoid potentially problematic flights. I'm interested in hearing from other experienced pilots regarding their observations or "tips of the trade".


Pilot Statement:
"This is what happens with the flawed GoPro software. Time to fix it GoPro."

Analysis:
In watching the video, It appeared to me that this drone initiated Return to Home (RTH). What I couldn't understand was why? The pilot was standing next to his house in a residential area, from the perspective of the drone, it appears like the drone may have been partially obscured by a tree and concrete wall, but there didn't appear to be enough of an obstruction to cause signal issues, especially given how close the pilot was to the drone. Was there significant wifi interference? What happened?

I reached out to the pilot, and he confirmed, that yes, RTH did engage when he ignored the low battery warning. The drone was unfortunately, under a tree when this occurred and he was unable to maintain control of the drone when this occurred.

Unfortunately, for the pilot, the drone was behaving as it is programmed to do.
https://gopro.com/help/articles/how_to/Karma-s-Return-Behavior

The thread above is a great read if you want to better understand how your drone will react to RTH being initiated. first, it rotates towards the launch location. Second, it ascends to the default altitude programmed into the remote. Third it begins to fly towards the launch location. These defaults can be changed in the "settings". Given that the Karma does not have optical sensors, it will crash into objects in the flight path, hence the default safe altitude. The pilot does have the ability to maneuver around objects while in RTH mode, but the controls feel unresponsive, and the drone does not react in a way you might customarily expect.

How do I avoid a crash in this scenario?

I've personally actually been in this scenario. I was in the process of landing when my drone initiated RTH and shot up into a tree I was attempting to navigate under. I was a fairly new pilot at the time, and learned quite a bit from the experience.
1. As this pilot learned the hard way, leave enough reserve in your battery to land safely. Do every thing you can to avoid this situation. Purchase additional batteries to give you more flight time.
2. If RTH mode is engaged, you can deactivate by pressing the "x" on the touch screen. Even if the drone is under a tree, the fact that the drone rotates towards the launch location first, before ascending, should provide precious seconds needed to cancel the ascent. This only works if your drone still has connection to the controller. If you lose controller connection, pray you are not under a tree, bridge or other obstruction, and cancel RTH as soon as your drone is back within range and you have control.
3. If you are in panic mode (Never a good idea) and your drone is ascending into a tree on RTH mode, you can press all the way down on the left stick (altitude control). This will not actually cause your drone to descend or land...it will simply counteract the RTH ascension, causing your drone to hover in place, basically "fighting" you at the controls. It will feel like you have no control, but you do...you are stopping the drone from ascending. While pressing down on the left stick, you can press the "x" on the touch screen to cancel RTH. NOTE that when you do this...your drone may suddenly be back in your control...and now you will descend rapidly...plan for it. you can also press the left stick all the way down, while using the right stick to move out from under the tree and into an area that is safe for ascension. Once you release the left stick, the drone will ascend to the default altitude and continue the RTH behavior. In my situation, after several seconds of pressing down on the left stick (I didn't understand what was going on at the time, I thought my drone had a mind of it's own and was going to fly away), RTH cancelled, and I was able to land the drone rapidly without any damage. I was quite lucky!

When situations like this occur, "tunnel vision" is common. Pilots will be focused on their drone, not on the controller or what the controller is saying. This is especially true if the controller's audio notifications are not in your first language. Stay calm, plan for RTH to occur and how to avoid it, and you will be okay. I've experienced RTH on several occasions since my first experience, and it was no big deal once I knew what to expect and how to deal with it.
 
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mjbok

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Joined
Nov 9, 2018
Messages
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Intro:
In this series of threads, I will be analyzing crash videos in an effort to learn more about the limitations of technology in the Karma Drone, and how to avoid such issues myself. Hopefully such analysis will help us all fly better and avoid potentially problematic flights. I'm interested in hearing from other experienced pilots regarding their observations or "tips of the trade".


Pilot Statement:
"This is what happens with the flawed GoPro software. Time to fix it GoPro."

Analysis:
In watching the video, It appeared to me that this drone initiated Return to Home (RTH). What I couldn't understand was why? The pilot was standing next to his house in a residential area, from the perspective of the drone, it appears like the drone may have been partially obscured by a tree and concrete wall, but there didn't appear to be enough of an obstruction to cause signal issues, especially given how close the pilot was to the drone. Was there significant wifi interference? What happened?

I reached out to the pilot, and he confirmed, that yes, RTH did engage when he ignored the low battery warning. The drone was unfortunately, under a tree when this occurred and he was unable to maintain control of the drone when this occurred.

Unfortunately, for the pilot, the drone was behaving as it is programmed to do.
https://gopro.com/help/articles/how_to/Karma-s-Return-Behavior

The thread above is a great read if you want to better understand how your drone will react to RTH being initiated. first, it rotates towards the launch location. Second, it ascends to the default altitude programmed into the remote. Third it begins to fly towards the launch location. These defaults can be changed in the "settings". Given that the Karma does not have optical sensors, it will crash into objects in the flight path, hence the default safe altitude. The pilot does have the ability to maneuver around objects while in RTH mode, but the controls feel unresponsive, and the drone does not react in a way you might customarily expect.

How do I avoid a crash in this scenario?

I've personally actually been in this scenario. I was in the process of landing when my drone initiated RTH and shot up into a tree I was attempting to navigate under. I was a fairly new pilot at the time, and learned quite a bit from the experience.
1. As this pilot learned the hard way, leave enough reserve in your battery to land safely. Do every thing you can to avoid this situation. Purchase additional batteries to give you more flight time.
2. If RTH mode is engaged, you can deactivate by pressing the "x" on the touch screen. Even if the drone is under a tree, the fact that the drone rotates towards the launch location first, before ascending, should provide precious seconds needed to cancel the ascent. This only works if your drone still has connection to the controller. If you lose controller connection, pray you are not under a tree, bridge or other obstruction, and cancel RTH as soon as your drone is back within range and you have control.
3. If you are in panic mode (Never a good idea) and your drone is ascending into a tree on RTH mode, you can press all the way down on the left stick (altitude control). This will not actually cause your drone to descend or land...it will simply counteract the RTH ascension, causing your drone to hover in place, basically "fighting" you at the controls. It will feel like you have no control, but you do...you are stopping the drone from ascending. While pressing down on the left stick, you can press the "x" on the touch screen to cancel RTH. NOTE that when you do this...your drone may suddenly be back in your control...and now you will descend rapidly...plan for it. you can also press the left stick all the way down, while using the right stick to move out from under the tree and into an area that is safe for ascension. Once you release the left stick, the drone will ascend to the default altitude and continue the RTH behavior. In my situation, after several seconds of pressing down on the left stick (I didn't understand what was going on at the time, I thought my drone had a mind of it's own and was going to fly away), RTH cancelled, and I was able to land the drone rapidly without any damage. I was quite lucky!

When situations like this occur, "tunnel vision" is common. Pilots will be focused on their drone, not on the controller or what the controller is saying. This is especially true if the controller's audio notifications are not in your first language. Stay calm, plan for RTH to occur and how to avoid it, and you will be okay. I've experienced RTH on several occasions since my first experience, and it was no big deal once I knew what to expect and how to deal with it.

The problem (for me the one time I experienced it) is that RTH engages when the controller has lost connection with the drone. For me I was less than 20 feet from the drone when it. I literally could have walked 10 steps and been where it was. I believe other drones hover in place for a period of time before RTH when they lose connection with a controller.
 

JCLs

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You said you had low battery warning. I do not believe you ever lost connection. You just expected the wrong thing for whatever reason. I am not aware of a drone that hovers in place after loosing connection in any case. They immediately fly to return altitude and execute RTH. Looks like you really trying to blame the Karma no matter what.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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