PiWings 2.0 is a tiny drone based on Raspberry Pi Pico and ESP8266 WiFi module (Crowdfunding)

SB Components’ PiWings 2.0 is a small drone combining a Raspberry Pi Pico with an ESP8266 WiFi module (ESP-12E) for wireless connectivity, and designed for STEM education and drone enthusiasts.

The PiWings 2.0 board supports up to six motors and four servos, includes a 6-axis IMU for auto-leveling, and features I2C, SPI, UART, and GPIO expansion ports for custom sensor and/or actuator support. The drone itself is offered with three, four, or six rotors.

PiWings 2.0 Raspberry Pi Pico drone variants
PiWings 2.0 boards and three drone variants

PiWings 2.0 key features and specifications:

  • Microcontroller board – Raspberry Pi Pico with Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller, 264KB SRAM
  • Wireless module – ESP-12E (ESP8266) WiFi module for iBus support
  • Motor Drivers – 6 channels (3A DC)
  • Servo Motors – 4 channels
  • USB – 1x micro USB port (on Raspberry Pi Pico)
  • Expansion – I2C, SPI, UART, GPIO ports
  • Sensor – On-board 6-axis IMU (MPU6050) for auto-leveling
  • Misc – 4x RGB LEDs
  • Power Supply
    • 3V – 5.5V DC (1S LiPo / 1S LiIon / 3S NiMh)
    • Reverse supply protection
  • Dimensions – TBD
PiWings 2.0 drone ESP8266
Blurry photo courtesy of SB Components showing the board with ESP8266 module

SB Components say they have developed an RP2040 SDK on Visual Studio and the Arduino IDE, with the API enabling a “simple programming style and basic math concepts” suitable for kids. They’ll also provide sample codes, but as usual, they won’t release anything until after shipping rewards. There’s also some gibberish about the drone being ideal for STEM education but nothing to show for it… The drone is controlled by an Android app (see video embedded below), but I could not identify it.

We’ve already seen it’s perfectly possible to create a drone with an ESP32 (or a Raspberry Pi Pico W), so the dual MCU design choice for the PiWings 2.0 may seem odd, and the company did not explain this choice. It’s often just a question of software support and the existing FlySky iBus Decoder Arduino library for the ESP8266 may explain it.

YouTube video player

SB Components has launched the PiWings 2.0 on Kickstarter with a 10,000 GBP target that has already been surpassed. Rewards start at $141 for the tri-copter, $160 for a quad-copter, and $178 for the hexa-copter. These prices appear to include worldwide shipping, and backers should receive their perks sometime in September.  For reference, you can get a similar-looking, albeit smaller, ESP32 quadcopter on Aliexpress for about $44 shipped (but the battery needs to be purchased separately).

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3 Replies to “PiWings 2.0 is a tiny drone based on Raspberry Pi Pico and ESP8266 WiFi module (Crowdfunding)”

  1. from the kickstarter page:” Fully Programmable Flight Control: Delve into the world of coding and robotics with PiWings’ fully programmable flight controller powered by the Raspberry Pi Pico.”

    … nice, but the youtube shows a manually controlled flight? Disappointing

    1. Oh, it’s programmable, only you have to do the programming… typical way they operate. Will be bare minimum functionality I expect.

  2. SB Components though, terrible track record for throwing things over the wall with essentially no software support, so nope, will steer clear of this one.

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