What happens when you combine a cellphone camera, a drone and a garage door? Viral video evidence of major technical difficulties, according to the experience of one Arizona man.
On Monday, Jan. 12, Mark Taylor stood in front of his Scottsdale home testing the automatic takeoff function on the DJI Inspire 1, which is a type of drone that retails for about $2,900.
But as the 37-second video clip shows, the drone begins to soar into the sky for a moment only to suddenly veer straight forward and smash into the metal garage door on Taylor’s property instead.
After crashing, the drone then fell onto the driveway, where it shattered into several pieces and scared Taylor’s wife, who stood watching nearby and let out a scream when the drone hit the door. The 6.5-pound device also left a sizable dent in the garage door.
Playing with a new toy such as a drone near a house could have consequences, experts note, such as needing a fix for a broken window or a new garage door installation.
“If something like this happens and your garage door gets dented, fixing it can be tough. For metal doors, once the metal has been bent/dented, it’s very difficult to get it to go back to normal,” said Jim Null, owner of Durbin Garage Doors. “Depending on the severity of the dent, installing a new door may be your best bet. For those looking to get a door that’s less likely to be dented, I always recommend an insulated garage door. They offer an additional level of durability because of the insulated layer inside the garage door.”
Taylor had planned to use the drone to record ultra-high definition real estate images nearby. Taylor then uploaded the video to YouTube on Jan. 12, to show that it was drone maker DJI, not “operator error,” at fault.
In the information on YouTube for the video, which has been viewed more than 250,000 times so far, Taylor notes that previous auto-takeoff flights with the drone had been unstable. Ideally, the device should be able to take off and land without having to use manual controls.
Taylor “wanted to record if it drifted to send to [DJI] to get settings changed” or to troubleshoot any potential issues, as the drone had crashed earlier that morning.
Responding to critics who said that Taylor didn’t know how to use the device in the first place, he said “Wrong,” and explained that he had used other model drones for real estate recording before.
Taylor also said that if it had been a case of operator error, he would simply go buy a new drone rather than humiliating himself on the internet.
“I love my DJI Products and want to keep flying,” he concluded.