A great educational drone is one which doesn’t cost you a fortune and at the same time gives you everything you need to build and code the UAV.
There are quite a few drone education options available, whether you want to learn at home, in the classroom or on a University program.
Along with fun learning to build and code, these educational drones are all terrific to fly. They are also very reasonable priced.
Many of the top drones on the market are beautiful to fly with exceptional stability. They all have excellent cameras to film with and come with software development kits (SDK) for programming. However, because these can be relatively expensive, they are not ideal to learn how to code on.
Here we highlight the best educational drones to build and code. These educational drones include online drone classes, curriculum, material or courses.
Along the way, we’ve included some very interesting and educational drone videos. Also, you will find plenty of knowledge in our educational drone articles here, which include the various sensors which can be mounted on a drone.
Best Drones For Education Including Kits To Build And Learn Coding
The below educational drones are all very competitively priced and have excellent programs to learn how to code each UAV;
- Rabolink CoDrone Lite & Pro educational kit
- Sky Viper e1700 stunt drone kit
- DJI Tello EDU drone
- DJI Tello Iron Man edition
- Parrot Mambo Fly educational drone
- Makeblock Airblock educational drone
- Dronea Aviation PlutoX kit
- 3D Printed mini drone
All the above are great educational drones and also terrific fun. Many are priced under under USD 100 and none more than USD 400. Many of the drones here are designed around STEAM learning principles.
What Exactly Is STEAM Education
STEAM is an educational approach to learning, which uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking.
The end result is students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem solving, embrace collaboration and work through the creative process.
Now lets take a look at these excellent educational drone and their features.
Rabolink CoDrone Lite And Pro Educational Drones
Established in 2012, Rabolink’s goal was to encourage students to learn about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in an engaging way, with robotics kits including the CoDrone Lite and Pro educational drones.
Rabolink Online Drone Curriculum And Learning Centers
Not only do Rabolink develop the educational drones, they also provide you with a drone curriculum learning platform along with a community forum.
At present, Rabolink operate in two learning centers in San Diego. They also run after school classroom drone programs in 15 different elementary and middle schools across San Diego county.
They also ship their CoDrone Lite and Pro educational drones all across the world.
CoDrone Lite Educational UAV
The CoDrone Lite includes the drone, which has Bluetooth (BLE) technology on board to allow your computer to communicate with the CoDrone.
- Flight Time: 8 minutes.
- Flight Range: 160 feet.
- Gyroscope: 3 axis gyroscope and 3 axis accelerometer for altitude control.
- Hovering: Uses optical flow sensor.
- Infrared Sensor for laser battle games.
- Barometer Sensor to assist with altitude control.
- Weight: 1.3 ounces (37 grams).
- Bluetooth: 4.0.
CoDrone Pro Educational UAV
The CoDrone Pro is the same as the CoDrone Lite. The Pro model is everything the CoDrone Lite is and also the Arduino based remote. Text-based coding is done in the Arduino coding environment or can be programmed in Python in the CoDrone Lite setup.
This educational drone has a price at the time of writing as follows;
CoDrone Kits For The Classroom
Rabolink have put together drone kits for the classroom, which are as follows:
These packages include 12 CoDrones and with the Pro package you also receive 12 remotes.
Rabolink recommend no more than 2 students for each drone in the classroom.
Here is a nice video from CES 2018, introducing the CoDrone Lite and Pro drones along with the programming languages.
Sky Viper e1700 Stunt Drone Kit – UAV Education Through Building Drones
Building your own drone is the best way to learn about the components, which make up your typical drone. The Sky Viper e1700 is an excellent reasonably priced drone so you will have great fun building and flying your own high performance drone.
The Sky Viper e1700 stunt drone builder kit includes everything you need to build this drone from the ground up.
The control board is based on drone racing platforms with the Sky Viper e1700 able to fly at 25 mph (40 km/h), which is tremendous for it’s price range and size.
Sky Viper e1700 Educational Drone Features
8 x One Touch stunts: Press and hold the left controller to perform flips and barrel rolls with a simple tap of the directional stick.
Dual Flight Modes: Choose between auto and manual modes. With the auto mode, your altitude is maintained hands free so you can fly forward, backward and sideways at the same height.
Flight Sensitivity: Adjust control responsiveness to match your piloting skills.
Auto Launch & Land: Launch to a stationary hover by simply pressing a button. Press the button again to automatically land with gentle precision.
Sky Viper e1700 Components In The Box
- Main Body Frame.
- Flight Controller Board.
- Top & Bottom Covers.
- 650 mAh LiPo Battery & Charger.
- Battery Tray, Compartment Insert & Cover.
- 4 Motors.
- 4 Green Propellers.
- 2 Green & 2 Red Arm Covers.
- 4 Blade Guards.
- 2 Pro Style Thumb Sticks.
- 2 Joystick Thumb Pads & Covers.
- Power & Stunt Buttons.
- Antenna Housing.
- Sensitivity Switch.
- Front & Rear Controller Housing.
- USB LiPo Battery Charger.
- Transmitter Circuit Board.
- Screws and Screwdriver.
The Sky Viper e1700 price is amazingly low and is great fun to build and fly.
It is also one of the best platforms to gain an education in drone technology and components.
DJI Tello EDU Drone
With STEAM and robotics becoming increasingly critical elements of a modern education, it is important for students to develop a passion and foundation in these subjects at an early age.
DJI is working to combine advanced technology and education, making STEAM more relevant and exciting to young people around the world.
Tello Educational Drone
DJI teamed up with Ryze Robotics to create the Tello drone. It’s an impressive and programmable drone perfect for education.
With this educational drone, you learn to code in programming languages in Scratch, Python, and Swift with the Tello special development kit giving you many commands to work with.
Here are some of the features of the DJI Tello educational drone.
- Auto take off and landing.
- Low battery protection.
- Failsafe protection.
- Vision Positioning System.
- 720P HD video transmission.
- 5 megapixel photos.
- 13 minute flight time.
- Precise hovering.
- Program a swarm of drones.
- Mission pads for multiple uses.
- Multiple flight modes.
- Special Development Kit.
Swarms of Tello EDUs
The Tello is an highly intelligent educational drone. Perhaps, its most amazing intelligent feature is that you can write code to command multiple Tello EDUs to fly in a swarm.
Tello EDU Mission Pads
The Mission Pads which come with the Tello EDU, allow for better coding and programming precision. They serve as guiding points and trigger mechanisms for many flight and landing operations.
Tello EDU Image Processing & Artificial Intelligence
With the Tello EDU, you can access video streaming data. It also has advanced functions such as object recognition, tracking and 3D reconstruction, computer vision with deep learning technologies.
Tello EDU Block Programming
The Tello EDU is a mobile programming app, which supports Scratch block programming. This allows you to command Tello to perform corresponding movements by dragging coding blocks on a smart mobile. It greatly assists with the learning of programming skills by playing games and completing levels.
There is a special Tello Space Travel tutorial, which teaches you how to use the Swift programming language to code on an iPad.
Now, here is a nice introduction to the Tello EDU drone from DJI.
DJI Tello Iron Man Drone
The DJI Tello Iron Man is much the same as the Tello EDU, with the main difference been the frame designed around the Iron Man character and movie theme. It includes the following;
Tello Hero App – provides an immersive experience and a peek into Iron Man’s world. With FRIDAY, Iron Man’s AI assistant, you can complete missions, while exploring Tello’s expansive range of possibilities. It comes with a comprehensive user guide showing you just how easy it is to fly.
Intelligent Flight Modes – with creative features like 360, Throw & Go and 8D Flips, it makes flying a lot easier and plenty more fun.
Excellent Camera & FPV – with 720p HD transmission, 5 megapixel photos and Electronic Image Stabilization.
Flight Time – up to 13 minutes of flight time and a 300 feet (100 meter) maximum distance.
Learning And Coding Tello Iron Man
Tello Iron Man Edition supports the Tello EDU app, mentioned above and also the Swift Playgrounds app. It also supports Python and Scratch programming languages, which is the same as the Tello EDU.
This next video shows you how simple it is to program the Tello educational drone.
Parrot Mambo Fly Drone and Parrot Education Apps
The Parrot Mambo mini quadcopter drone is intelligent, robust and very easy to fly.
It is one of the most stable mini-drones on the market due to its intelligent autopilot system, advanced flight controller and powerful sensors. This technology makes the Parrot Mambo easy to fly indoors and outdoors.
It’s so easy that even if you let go the controls, it remains stable. The auto-pilot takes over. Another excellent feature is the “cut-out system” where the motors shut down in case of an impact.
The Parrot Mambo has a flight time of 9 minutes without the attachments. The battery takes only 30 minutes to charge. It’s always a good idea to have a few spare batteries.
IMU, Accelerometer and Gyroscope Technology
This amazing quadcopter has an Inertial Measurement Unit to evaluate speed, tilt and obstacle contact. It has a 3 axis accelerometer and 3 axis gyroscope for excellent flight stability.
For a drone to fly perfectly, the IMU, gyro stabilization and flight controller technology is essential.
You can read further on this topic in our excellent easy to read article entitled “Drone Gyroscopes, IMU And Flight Controllers Explained“.
Parrot Mambo Fly Follow You And Camera
The Parrot Mambo has follow you technology and can take photos with its integrated 60 frames per second vertical camera. These photos are automatically saved to your phone.
Parrot Mambo Accessories
The Parrot Mambo has a patented Smart Block system, which allows you to connect accessories to the drone. You can equip the Parrot Mambo with a cannon, a grabber or the FPV camera. These accessories give you plenty of fun and opportunities to program using the Parrot educational drone apps.
How To Fly the Parrot Mambo
You control the Mambo Fly from your smartphone or tablet with the FreeFlight Mini app, which will give you a flight range of 65 feet (20 meters).
Alternatively you can fly the Parrot Mambo with the Flypad remote controller, which will give you a flight range of 328 feet (100 meters).
Parrot Education For Drone Programming
Parrot Education was launched to support the drone revolution occurring in homes, classrooms, academic institutions and universities across the globe.
From primary schools to PhD’s, drones offer an astonishing new aerial perspective with countless applications across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as in film, media, and journalism.
Parrot have partnered with one of the best coding platforms to offer many options to code drones in your home, classroom, college or University.
Drone Educational Bundles For The Classroom Including Curriculum
Parrot have designed drone bundles for the classroom. These educational bundles include drones, spare parts, accessories and the coding drone curriculum. These drone education bundles can be ordered directly from their EDU store here.
You can also avail of the Parrot drone educational bundles through FTW Robotics, which are also a re-seller for Parrot. They are an excellent company and can be contacted directly for quotes, tax exemption forms, and place orders.
FTW Robotics is dedicated to promoting STEM through the use of drones in schools. There drone program explores the STEM Principles behind drones and their use in society. Students work through curriculum, activities and quizzes to gain a well rounded perspective on this emerging new drone technologies.
Parrot Developer Platform
As well as the educational drones and coding curriculum including apps, Parrot have an excellent developer forum.
Parrot Mambo Price
The Parrot Mambo Fly with FPV goggles and Flypad remote control is priced at USD 120 at the time of writing. You can view this Parrot Mambo Fly offer here.
Here is a nice video on programming drones using the Swift Playgrounds and featuring the Parrot Mambo drone.
Makeblock Airblock Educational Drone
The Makeblock Company was founded in 2013 and is a global leading STEAM education solution provider.
STEAM Education is a new teaching concept which integrates the Arts with the traditional STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It emphasizes practice based learning concepts instead of just theoretical knowledge.
Practice based learning encourages students to participate in projects, which they are interested in and also allows them to conceptualize technology they are familiar with.
With STEAM, students will gain comprehensive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, and collaboration. The skills they learn through practice based learning will enhance and spark future generation in STEAM education.
Airblock Educational Drone
The Makeblock Airblock educational drone, along with it’s STEAM education is for the hobbyist, families, schools and educational institutions.
The Airblock educational drone is made up of 1 core master module and 6 power modules. They connect to each other magnetically so the UAV is built quickly. It can also be built into a hovercraft or a variety of other DIY configurations.
With the Makeblock software, anyone can get started quickly. This Airblock educational drone will teach you block based programming, the principles of aerodynamics, exercise logic and develop your critical thinking skills.
Airblock has won several awards including the German iF Design Award, the German Reddot Product Design Award, the Korean K-Design Award, the American IDEA Award for Makeblock Neurons, the Japanese Good Design Award and many other international industrial design awards.
The Airblock is for anyone wanting to learn about drones including kids in elementary education.
Here are a just a few of the Airblock educational drone specifications;
- Battery life: 6 – 8 minutes
- Weight: 5 oz (141 grams)
- Control Distance: 33 feet (10 meters)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Electronic Sensors / Modules: Ultrasonic, Barometer, 6 Axis Gyroscope, Bluetooth, 6 Hollow-cup motors, RGB Leds
Makeblock Programming Software For Drone Education
Makeblock has developed a series of programming suites for STEAM education. Their mBlock 5 is a powerful platform supporting block based and text based programming.
The Makeblock App is an all in 1 controller for Makeblock robots offering a comprehensive robotics experience for beginners. Their Neuron App is a flow based programming software with AI and IoT support, encouraging creations using Makeblock Neuron blocks.
The Makeblock software makes coding interactive, easy and fun. To date, the total number of Makeblock software users exceeds 8 million and continues to grow.
MakeBlock Airblock Price
At the time of writing the Airblock educational drone price is USD 99.00, which is great value.
Here is a nice introduction to the Makeblock Airblock drone.
Dronea Aviation PlutoX Educational Drone Kit
Dronea Aviation is an Indian IT startup working with drones for 8 years. They have won awards in competitions globally including IMAV France, ICUG Spain, MICAV Bengaluru, Techfest Mumbai among many others.
PlutoX Drone Kit
The PlutoX is designed for those who want to fly and also want to experiment, build and design. The PlutoX product is an “Aerial Robotics Kit” which you can configure and program.
Listed on Indiegogo, the PlutoX comes with the following;
- PlutoX nano-drone.
- A detailed learning manual.
- 10 DIY projects.
- Hardware accessories (including wifi camera, range sensor and DC geared motors).
- Easy to code software.
- Modular hardware (listed below).
PlutoX Drone Kit Hardware Components
You receive all the following in the kit
- The PlutoX Drone, fully assembled.
- A 600 mAH LiPo battery.
- A video camera for the drone.
- A blank BasicX Expansion Card (more on that soon).
- A BasicX Expansion Card with two VL53LOX Time of Flight sensors.
- Two geared DC motors.
- Two small wheels for the geared DC motors.
- Two spare quadcopter motors.
- Spare propellers.
- Stickers and a Drona Aviation badge.
Cygnus IDE is at the center of the PlutoX software development, allowing you to create real world applications for drones.
The SDK has an API based Arduino like interface. Using the open-source Cygnus IDE, PlutoX allows easy modifications by simply flashing a pre-written code through a phone app called Pluto.
Now, to be able to program with Cygnus IDE, you would need to be comfortable with the syntax of the C++ programming language.
Here are some of the features and specifications.
- Flight Time – 9 minutes.
- Payload – 15 grams.
- Communication – WiFi 196 feet (60 meters).
- Frame – Open Source and modifiable.
- SDK – API Based Interface.
PlutoX Project on Indiegogo
The PlutoX is almost complete and ready to ship. It is listed on Indiegogo and you can check out the PlutoX project here.
Here is an excellent video introducing you to the PlutoX, including the components and programming.
Drone Education Through Building A 3D Printed Mini Quadcopter
If you love learning about drones, then you will also find the world of 3D printing very fascinating.
The next video and links show how you merge these technologies by building your own 3D printer and also the frame of your mini quadcopter.
The video also shows you how to build the fast mini quadcopter.
Building this 3D frame and mini quadcopter will definitely bring your drone education to the next level giving you an excellent understanding of the hardware and components.
You will also learn how to configure and calibrate the drone using Betaflight flight controller software. This software can also be used to test the direction of the motors on the quadcopter. You can also change the motor direction using the BLHeli-Configurator software.
To build this 3D printed drone, you need to have some soldering experience. It isn’t a good idea to learn how to solder on the drone ESC board. You can learn how to solder here.
The 3D printer is the Original Prusa i3 MK3S kit. This comes with everything you need to build the 3D printer, including excellent manuals. You can also watch this video entitled “Building the Original Prusa i3 MK3”
The instructions on how to build the drone and the components you need are in this article entitled “How To Build A Cool & Cheap 3D Printed Micro Drone“.
The instructions and drone parts required to build the drone on the 3D printed frame in the video is as follows;
Components For 3D Printed Frame
- HGLRC F428 Flytower flight controller and regulator board.
- 4x Racerstar RC1103B 8000kV motors.
- 2 pairs of 2035 propellers.
- Giant Power 2S 300mAh Lipo battery.
- Charsoon Lipo battery charger.
- FlySky FS-i6 radio transmitter.
- FS-RX2A Pro Receiver.
- JST battery connector.
- 3-wire servo cable to connect receiver to flight controller.
- 3D Printer frame from Prusi i3 MK3S printer.
- FPV camera.
3D Printed Drone Optional Accessories
- Eachine VR D2 Pro FPV Goggles.
- Eachine AIO 5.8GHz FPV Camera with OSD Micro FPV camera plus built in transmitter.