DJI will ground Spark drones on September 1st unless owners install an update

Drone maker DJI announced yesterday that it’s pushing out a firmware fix in response to a pernicious problem that sent an unspecified number of its new Spark drones falling out of the sky. One thing to note for Spark owners: if you don’t install the firmware update by September 1st, your drone will not take off. “DJI decided on the option of a mandatory firmware update in order to maximize flight safety and product reliability which we consider as top priorities,” the company said in its blog post.

The issue with the Spark, which appears to have stemmed from the drone’s battery management system and power supply, was not particularly widespread, as DJI said only a “small number” of owners were experiencing the mid-flight malfunctions. It’s also not uncommon for a subset of brand-new drones to experience some type of major error that keeps them from flying or sends them crashing to the ground, as was the case when GoPro was forced to recall its Karma drone last year.

However, DJI, as a leading maker of consumer drones and arguably the most recognized brand name in the industry, has released quite a few products, making the Spark slip up a painful setback for the Chinese electronics giant. DJI says Spark owners can install the firmware update through the DJI Go 4 app in an area of internet connectivity, or by using the DJI Assistant 2 desktop application when plugging the drone into a computer.

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