Raspberry Pi Pico Drone Takes Flight

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Ravi Butani)

This Raspberry Pi project is ready to launch! PiWings is a Raspberry Pi Pico-powered quadcopter project developed by maker Ravi Butani. It involves a custom PCB, Raspberry Pi Pico and an original Android-based app for controls.

We checked with Butani and confirmed exactly what his new Pico Drone PCB will support. It can support a 6-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) that is used to measure orientation and acceleration forces , a barometer module to measure air pressure, four servos and six ultra small SOT23 package MOSFETs which drive the motors that require 3A of current, much more than can be safely supplied via general motor controllers such as MX1508, L9110S etc. If you would like to add your own components to the drone, this can be accomplished via I2C or SPI sensors, just make sure to balance and watch the weight of the drone to ensure smooth flying.

The firmware for this project was made from scratch by Butani with simplicity in mind. The best Raspberry Pi projects bring us closer together and this one is no exception. According to Butani, he wants the project to be accessible to kids who may not have as much programming experience—making it an ideal project for young makers and classroom environments. The project is not limited to to four motors, it can scale up and down from bicopters to hexacopters and even hovercraft. If planes are more your thing, the project can also be used with fixed wing drones.

Even the controls are easy to set up and use thanks to the accompanying Android app. This makes it possible to pilot and maneuver the Pico-powered aircraft using the touchscreen of your Android device.

If you want to take a closer look at this project, follow Butani at Twitter and check out his YouTube channel for flight demos.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.