One of the most buzzed-about drones to come out of CES 2018 is the Tello drone, a $99 toy drone made by a Chinese startup called Ryze Tech.
The drone was made in partnership with both DJI and Intel, capitalizing on an Intel vision processing chip and flight stabilization from DJI.
The drone, which was unveiled Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, is targeted at people looking to learn how to use drones how to code, as well as people looking for a low-cost introduction to stunt flying and shooting videos.
The Tello drone, which weighs just 80 grams, can fly for 13 minutes and shoot 5 megapixel photos. For context, DJI’s next-smallest drone, the DJI Spark, weighs 300 grams, can fly for 16 minutes and shoots 12 megapixel photos. The drone won’t have an RC transmitter, but can be controlled via a mobile app.
Because the Tello drone uses an Intel Movidius Myriad 2 VPU, which handles object recognition in DJI drones, the drone can also respond to hand gestures, and is able to land in the pilot’s hand.
The drone is programmable with Scratch, an MIT-based coding system intended to teach the basics of programming. More advaned programmers can develop software applications using the Tello software development kit.
This is the first time DJI is getting into the sub-$100, toy or educational drone category. One of DJI’s biggest competitors, Parrot, partnered with children’s coding company Tynker to manufacture an iteration of its Mambo drone that teaches pilots how to write code that controls it. Other companies targeting kids and education have turned their attention to hardware, including Flybrix, which uses Legos to teach pilots how to build the drone.