Parrot launched some fun new mini drones this morning that are about to make your drone educational programs even more awesome, particularly access to the Parrot SDK for app development.  Here is a nice writeup in TechCrunch and more details on the Parrot webpage.

Introducing 'Swing',  a new vertical takeoff, transitional vehicle. This thing is really fast and comes with a nice new bluetooth controller that makes piloting mini drones even easier.  Swing is definitely unique!

'Mambo' is an upgraded quad with power out of the Lego-style bricks to run accessories, including a little cannon for light plastic pellets and a claw for picking up and dropping things.  For you DIY folks, the interesting thing here is that power is available to solder on other accessories (think Raspberry Pi, LEDs, etc...).  


For the educators out there, when combined with the Tickle app for programming, this should make your drone classes even more interesting (e.g. whichever team drops the pin the closest to the target on an autonomous mission through an classroom obstacle course wins).

So while you are studying for your Part 107 exam, lets remember to have a little fun! 

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  • Yeah, they are amazing little vehicles for their stability with the optical flow/sonar.  We have the new Bluetooth controller for sticks that makes it so much fun to fly.  Right now the controller comes with Swing but will work on the new Mambo too.  So, you won't have to fly with the phone or tablet.

    Rob, if you want to be really impressed, download the free Tickle app (https://tickleapp.com/devices/) and you can use block code to program the drone.  This is amazing for K-12 audiences and teaching mission planning.  Tynker also works (https://www.tynker.com)

    The Parrot SDK is open.  It would be fantastic if more folks in the DIY community wrote apps that work for it.  Mission Planner for mini drones!

    We have educational bundles for schools at edu.parrot.com.

    Tickle: Program Star Wars BB-8, LEGO, Drones, Arduino, Dash & Dot, Sphero, Robots, Hue, Scratch, Sw…
    Programming re-imagined for the connected world. Learn to program Arduino, drones, Star Wars BB-8, connected toys, and smart home devices. Tickle is…
  • I was actually at Costco last night, and saw these Parrot Minidrones Airborne Cargo Drone things for $100.  I picked one up on a lark,  I thought it was basically like my Hubsan H107 I haven't flown in a long time.

    But, I'm blown away!  It's actually really cool!  I was not expecting altitude hold, and I believe it must have some optical flow thing going on or something. Because when you release the "stick" it actually stops, and doesn't actually move.

    The soft-joysticks (touchscreen) are completely tragic, as I always knew.  This thing would be WAY more fun to fly with a real joystick.

    The packaging claimed to be able to take aerial photos.  I assumed there was a forward facing camera, but there's not, just downfacing.  And the app isn't downloading the photos.  I dunno.

    Anyway, I'm impressed.

  • It is a marvel of engineering and is one of the most efficient VTOLs I'm aware of.

    Got any power figures to quote, for hover and forward flight, with payload?  I see claims like this often, but IF they give power figures, they aren't competitive to helicopters, which are the kings of VTOL.

  • Looks fun to fly! (when there is no wind)
    @Chris, at our university we applied reference frame re-orientation and some signal mixing to make these kind of tailsitter vtols more intuitive to control: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304802673_A_control_approa...

    It can be tuned for different transition angles and can also be interesting for just flying at high speeds with a regular quad (or FPV racer).

    (PDF) A control approach for transitioning VTOL UAVs with continuously varying transition angle and…
    PDF | This paper describes a control approach for transitioning VTOL UAVs controlled by differential thrust, allowing to fly in all flight phases...…
  • Hope you are right about Jumpship, I really want to see a video of it flying especially horizontally.

    Good to know about the transitioning flight controller.

    An X wing will work really well in somewhere with an atmosphere and no wind and no gravity, just not absolutely sure where that is yet.



  • Full disclosure, I have worked with (not for) and am good friends of the TRI guys. The quadshots are out of stock, but the flight controllers are not. Truly a marvelous transitioning flight controller. I have seen the JumpShip fly and I do not believe it is "discontinued". It is a marvel of engineering and is one of the most efficient VTOLs I'm aware of.

    I share Chris's opinion of the X Plus One, I just wanted you guys to know there ARE good tail-sitting VTOLs out there.

  • Hi Gabriel,

    I was very aware of the Quadshots including watching their early videos.

    The big problem with it was response to wind, they had too much surface in both directions to make stable landings in any kind of wind.

    I notice that although their site is still open the last message from them is re a shipment of foam on a container headed for Oakland on March 13.

    I was unaware of the Jumpship and would definitely like to see a video of it in operation.

    Or actually any recent message indicating they ever actually flew one.

    It seems a much better design than the Quadshot which was way too light for all that vertical (sitting on it's tail) wing area and often got blown over just sitting there.

    I still think the Jumpship still has a fair amount of unnecessary central wing spar which would normally still cause trouble with drift when landing and taking off.

    These things really need to weathervane with their wings perpendicular to the wind for vertical flight and have minimal wind resistance when they have done so.

    Main thing wrong with the Parrot shown here in hover mode no matter which way it is facing to the wind when vertical is that it is getting blown all over the place (X wing just won't work for that reason alone).

    Of course, it is way inefficient for wings when flying horizontally as well.

    The Jump ship is an Octo and looks to me like it would work.

    My Quadroplane is a smallish quad and is simpler and less elegant, but should be reasonably easy to build with some G10, carbon tubes and some simple pre-cut foam wings.

    And if you turn it sideways to the wind when taking off or landing vertically, the wind will absolutely have minimal effect on it even including a teardrop fuselage.

    ArduPilot already has automatic weathervaning capability built in and it could easily be adapted to this use.

    CG should be easy to maintain properly over the wing chord for stable level horizontal flight and 4 elevons should be able to permit very good horizontal flight control.

    In the meantime if you ever do come across an actual video of the Jumpship, please link it here.

    Best regards,


  • 3D Robotics

    @Gabriel: It seems that both Quadshot and JumpShip have been discontinued: https://transition-robotics.com/collections/

    Collections – Transition Robotics Store
  • I failed to mention the company is Transition Robotics, and they also have the industrial version the JumpShip. Which is quite similar to Gary's concept (though I'm sorry they were several years ahead of you).


    JumpShip – Transition Robotics Store
     The product of more than a year of hardware and software development, JumpShip represents a leap forward in the utility and capability of small unma…
  • I hope you guys have seen the Quadshot. It's been around for ~5 years and is freaking awesome. How these guys have not received greater recognition I don't know. People keep "inventing" new products that fail to work as well as this thing.


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