A number of UK forces have grounded their drones after a fault was discovered that could make them “fall to the ground”.
(Published in Police Professional)
The problem affects the DJI Matrice 200 series drones, and a number of forces, including West Midlands, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester and Devon and Cornwall, have suspended flights.
West Midlands Police reported an incident in which a drone malfunctioned and suddenly landed on the roof of a commercial property, prompting the force to alert the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The multi-force decision to ground the drones follows a CAA report published on October 26 that states: “The purpose of this Safety Notice is to raise the awareness for DJI Matrice 200 series users of a small number of in-flight power failures, which have led to a complete power loss and the aircraft have fallen to the ground.”
In a statement on its website, DJI Matrice said: “DJI is aware of a small number of reports involving drones in the Matrice 200 series that have lost power mid-flight. Flight safety and product reliability are top priorities.
“Our engineers are thoroughly reviewing each customer case and working to address this matter urgently.”
The Matrice 200 series is particularly suited to flying in wet and windy conditions, making it suitable for most policing operations.
Drones, also known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), have a wide range of police uses, including helping search for a missing person, crime scene photography and public safety surveillance, especially at crowded events.