Skyviper vs Tello

So I get his email a few days ago about a drawing for a chance to win a Tello from IBM. I think I had to register for a cloud account and complete one of their Watson Vision tutorials to complete the entry, maybe I’ll win one… BUT, I would much rather do this type of programming and learning on an Ardupilot capable drone, so then I remembered the Skyviper is an Ardupilot based craft. How do the various Skyvipers compare to the Tello? is there a similar development environment ?


Nothing as simple as Scratch yet, but Roberto and some others are working on Blockly for ArduPilot. It’s a while off though.


That’s a pretty well integrated project that IBM is offering:
Using the Ryze and DJI APIs in their SDKs and Node-RED setup and configured to send commands to the drone, making a read-to-go platform for robotic experiments.

Add to this , a pre-configured flow that sends pictures to the Watson Visual Recognition service to classify what is in the image, makes it really easy to anyone interested to try , and get hooked to Watson as the preferred AI cloud service.

How about ArduPilot and Skyviper ? Well, actually you could use the IBM image classifier workflow, but you would need to control the drone with Mission Planner (or DroneKit Python) using GPS coordinates outdoor.

Implementing control within code-RED requires a considerable effort and at the moment, none of the actual ArduPilot compatible drones offers a vision systems that can precisely controlled indoor (or outdoor no wind). Here is an example of the command that have been implemented in the IBM Watson project based on the Tello SDK:

up 50cm
down 50cm
right 50cm
left 50cm
forward 50cm
back 50cm
rotate clockwise 90º
rotate counter-clockwise 90º
rotate clockwise 360º
flip forward

Basically giving a simple set of commands that can be repeated to move the vehicle.

See John Walicki walks through the code

I thought there was an Ardupilot drone with working Optical Flow?

Yes the Tello/IBM/RED interface does look slick.

James mentioned Blockly, and some were working on that for Ardupilot, that sounds interesting, how similar to node-RED?

Yes there is a SkyViper with OpticalFlow (Scout) that offers a velocity estimator that can reduce vehicle drift, but the Trello has an absolute localization system in the sense that you can send position (distances x-y) commands (as a GPS in Auto Mode).

Blocky is similar to Scratch and node-RED is an IoT framework with a Scratch Wrapper.