Programming the DJI Ryze Tello drone with Python

Fleet Flyer

© Lead Image © Leonid Eremeychuk,

© Lead Image © Leonid Eremeychuk,

Article from Issue 277/2023

Drones are more fun if you can program the unmanned aerial vehicle yourself. The DJI Ryze Tello and Python make this possible.

In this article, I work with the DJI Ryze Tello drone, which is available on Amazon [1] and from other vendors for around $99 (£99/EUR100). Why this model? The drone was designed for educational use and has open interfaces for that purpose. In other words, you can develop programs for the drone in Scratch or Python.

To familiarize yourself with the drone's capabilities, you first need to download the app that gives you manual control of the drone. The drone's battery lasts about 13 minutes, and the control range is about 100 meters. Because it is intended for operation inside buildings, this range is fine. If you get lost, the built-in 720p camera with electronic image stabilizer lets you view your current location.

For more intensive use, a Tello with the indispensable boost combo add-on adds $49 (£39/EUR45) to the price. Among other things, you get two extra batteries and a propeller protection set. During your first programming attempts, the propeller guards will definitely help prevent serious damage (Figure 1). Further information about the DJI Ryze Tello can be found on the manufacturer's website [2]; the essential technical data is shown in Table 1.


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