I Flew an Expensive Drone Into a Fence at Top Speed and You Won't Believe What Happened Next

By Adam Clark Estes on at

I swear it was an accident. For two weeks, I flew the DJI Phantom 4 as often as possible, to learn about its quirky but impressive feature set. When it came time for the final test — seeing how obstacle avoidance worked at high speeds — it slipped my mind that the technology doesn’t work at all at high speeds.

In a new configuration called Sport Mode, the Phantom 4 roars across the sky as fast as 45 miles per hour. But the aircraft tilts too far forward for the front-facing cameras that enable obstacle avoidance to work. After enjoying how well obstacle avoidance works in the other modes, I basically became dependent on it. The drone feels like it can’t be crashed. But it can.