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DJI Spark Drones Won’t Work Without This Crucial Update

August 22, 2017, 7:58 PM UTC

DJI is issuing an important software update for one of its newest drones.

The China-based drone giant said Monday that customers who bought its Spark drone, which debuted in May and costs $500, must download a software update or their flying robots will no longer operate.

The update, which will be available sometime this week, is related to the Spark drone’s “flight safety and performance” and affects the drone’s battery management system to “optimize power supply during flight,” according to a statement from DJI.

It’s unclear if the software update is related to a recent bug that caused some Spark drones to fall from the sky in July. At the time, DJI said that the bug only affected a small number of drones and that an upcoming software update would fix any lingering problems.

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DJI’s update also improves the experience of using the Spark drone with DJI’s goggles that let people see imagery from the drone’s perspective while in flight.

People will be prompted from DJI’s flight app to download the update, or they can also download it using the DJI Assistant 2 software for desktop computers, the company said.

Unlike other consumer technology companies like AppleDJI products stop working if they are not updated with the latest software. The requirement risks upsetting customers who fail to make the updates, but it’s a position DJI seems comfortable with.

“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 a statement.