The Parrot Mambo is a favorite of mine. Its built-in functions make it incredibly easy to fly and absolute fun for beginners.
I own the Parrot Mambo FPV which comes with a remote control and a modular external camera. There are a variety of Mambo bundles that you can buy though. The best one for coding is the Parrot Mambo Code bundle. The code bundle comes with the following:
1 Mambo Drone
6 Month Tynker Subscription (Tynker is a block programming language suitable for beginners and kids). The subscription includes:
- 3 Introductory Courses
- Drones and Robotics Courses
- 6 Game Design Courses
- 4 Minecraft courses + Private Minecraft Server
- Daily Missions
What’s good is that the drone can be programmed and experimented with, using a variety of coding languages according to your level of expertise. While the bundle comes with a subscription to Tynker, the drone can be programmed in the following:
- MATLAB (SIMULINK)
- SDK (Parrot’s Software Development Kit)
The drone is extremely durable so kids can be allowed to experiment freely without fear of the drone breaking. I have crashed mine several times both indoors and outdoors and it still works very well.
The Parrot Mambo Code Bundle retails for $149.99.
Accessories & Add-Ons
There are a number of modular accessories that can be added to the Mambo including cameras, cannons, and grabber arms. The remote control (Flypad) can be purchased, and make flying the drone much easier if it isn’t being used for coding. Overall, the additional accessories make flying the drone more fun.
DJI is dominating the drone market. The drone behemoth has a drone targeted at every market segment so it’s no surprise that the company has acquired a solution aimed at STEM education and kids. Like all DJI drones, the Tello comes with a built-in camera which is always a bonus. The Tello is designed to be programmed with MIT Scratch, which is the block programming language on which all other block programming languages are based. Tello can also be programmed using Python. The DroneBlocks app works alongside Tello allowing users to quickly access Scratch.
The DJI Tello retails for $99
Robolink, a STEM education company based in San Diego, California (Founded in 2012) also offers a solution aimed at teaching kids how to code. Robolink offers the option to buy its programmable drone, CoDrone either by itself (CoDrone Lite) or as a bundle with a programmable Arduino based remote control (CoDrone Pro).
This is where the company differentiates itself from both Parrot and DJI. The programmable remote adds another layer of experimentation and complexity offering increased learning opportunities for older or more advanced students.
CoDrone Lite can be programmed using block based programming application, SNAP! while CoDrone Pro utilizes the Arduino programming language (C/C++ based) to control the drone via the remote control. CoDrone Pro is great if you want a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the electrical engineering side of how the drone communicates with the control.
Robolink offers a number of coding tutorial on their website to help you get started.
CoDrone Lite retails for $ 119.99. The CoDrone Pro is available for $ 179.99
Accessories & Add-ons
A camera can be added to the drone in order to fly FPV (First Person View). The camera mod retails for $39.99
A Comparison of the Drones