“Don’t call it a drone,” says GoPro CEO Nick Woodman on GoPro’s latest product, Karma. That’s the introduction to an AMA (short for Ask Me Anything on Reddit) that GoPro CEO Nick Woodman hosted on Reddit, where he took questions on a variety of topics, including Karma.
The Q&A reads like a script for a parody surfer bro (should we say ‘brah’?) movie, but it is, in fact, Nick Woodman himself writing. ‘Shredding’, ‘dudes,’ and ‘extremely stoked’ aside, here are some highlights from Woodman’s discussion, which provided insights into the future of Karma and Woodman’s thoughts on the drone manufacturer competition.
Reddit: Will you bring out software/hardware improvements to Karma?
Nick Woodman: We will introduce updates to Karma to enhance its performance and what you can do with it. Karma already has a lot of hardware features built into it that we’re not exploiting yet, so expect more radness to come. We know everyone is excited to learn more and we promise to share more as soon as we can. Thanks for the stoke.
R: How do you feel the Karma holds up against recent drone industry competitors such as the DJI Mavic and the Yuneec Breeze — especially considering the difference in price point?
NW: I may be biased 😉 but I think Karma shreds…especially for $799! It’s amazing that you get the drone, the removable stabilizer, the handheld grip, the touch display controller all together in the backpack for that price. A couple of years ago, all of this would have been $10K! We are living in the future.
R: What do you think about the DJI Mavic?
NW: I think it’s a sweet drone. DJI did a really nice job and should be stoked with what they’ve accomplished. Personally, I’m partial to Karma because I want more than just aerial footage…I want amazingly smooth, sick footage ofeverything I do…not just buttery shots from the sky. Karma lets me capture “drone-smooth” footy from my chest while I’m skiing, in my hand while I’m chasing my crazy kids around the skate park, and yes…in the air when that’s the shot I want. Being “more than a drone” is what Karma is all about…but in the area of drones specifically, DJI did a great job.
R: It’s been said on your community forums that it’s likely going to be a blanket ban on flying within a 5 mile radius of airports, with no exceptions. Ironically a thread on the forums shows that would ban flight at your own HQ. Since it’s perfectly legal to fly within 5 miles of an airport if you’ve notified the tower, or if you have a 107 license, will you pledge that GoPro will provide a way to unlock flight in those cases?
NW: There’s been some misunderstandings about this, so let’s clear it up. Here’s our approach to keeping it safe for our airports:
If you’re attempting to fly within the range of 1.5 to 5 miles of an airport, Karma’s controller will ask you to confirm that you have taken the necessary steps to be allowed to fly in that area (notified the tower, followed the correct part 107 procedures, etc). If you confirm YES, you’ll be allowed to fly right then and there. Currently, flying within 1.5 miles of an airport won’t be allowed for safety reasons. All of this is something we’re continuing to refine and improve for our customers as we understand everyone’s desire is to “do good” and capture awesome footage. Remember to always check your local rules and regs and fly safe!