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Introducing the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition)

Introducing the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition)

Introducing the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition)

The Summary:

The CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition) is an edition of the CoDrone EDU meant for JROTC programs. If you aren't a JROTC program, most likely you won't need to spend the extra $100 on the JROTC edition.



The Full Story:

There's a new edition to the CoDrone EDU! In recent years, there have been a lot of policy changes regarding the way some schools procure technology. When it comes to drones, policies such as the American Security Drone Act have affected how military-funded school programs procure drone technology for their students. In the case of the Army's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program, the program funding can only be used on technology where certain components of the drone can't be sourced from covered foreign entities, which includes the country of China. The JROTC program is one of the largest leadership and citizenship programs for youth in the world.

This is how the JROTC edition of the CoDrone EDU came to be. The JROTC edition of the CoDrone EDU was created to offer a solution specifically for the US Army JROTC programs. This enables JROTC students to still use our CoDrone EDU and integrate drone education into their classrooms and to participate in the national Aerial Drone Competition

How does the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition) fit funding requirements?

JROTC funding has restrictions on what kinds of devices military funding can be used for. They’re particularly sensitive to certain components being made in China, because it falls into the category of “foreign country of concern”. For most non-JROTC schools in the country, this is not an issue, but it is a restriction particularly for JROTC funding.

The CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition) uses parts sourced from approved manufacturers, and is assembled in South Korea. This allows for JROTC funding to be used to purchase this drone for classrooms and students.

JROTC is very interested in students participating in the Aerial Drone Competition, and many of them already do send teams to the competitions. While there are JROTC programs who participate in the Aerial Drone Competition, previously they could only participate if they purchased the CoDrone EDU using alternative sources of funding. Naturally, JROTC programs would prefer being able to use their regular funding to purchase the kits, which precludes most of them from purchasing the CoDrone EDU. With the JROTC edition, it opens up the competition to all JROTC programs.

So should I buy the JROTC edition instead of the standard edition?

The simple answer is: if you aren't JROTC, most likely not.

The JROTC edition, due to being sourced from different manufacturers and being assembled in South Korea, is priced at $100 higher than the standard edition to meet those requirements. We generally recommend most school districts to purchase the CoDrone EDU and save the extra $100 per unit.

There are a growing number of school districts concerned about 889 compliance, which is a requirement for tech and its internal components to not be sourced from a list of very specific manufacturers. The standard edition of CoDrone EDU is already 889 compliant, which you can read about here. So for a vast majority of schools in the United States, you can save the $100 per unit in your budget and get the standard edition.

That being said, in some rare cases, some non-JROTC programs and school districts may have similar requirements to the JROTC funding for the tech they bring into their schools. So you also don't necessarily have to be a JROTC program to purchase the JROTC edition. 

It's always best to check with your school district on what kinds of funding requirements your school district or grant may have.

How is the CoDrone (JROTC edition) different?

There are a couple minor design changes implemented in the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition) worth mentioning, but none of them affect or improve its performance over CoDrone EDU. 

First, with the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition), we switched the port over to USB-C—this includes the battery charger, drone USB port, and controller USB ports. The end of the cable connecting to the computer is still the conventional USB-A port, however. So your devices need not have a USB-C port. Below are examples of the USB-C port on the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition).

CoDrone EDU (JROTC ed.) USB-C port on the dual charger
CoDrone EDU (JROTC ed.) USB-C port on the controller

 A side view of the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition) with the USB-C port visible and circled

For the cable itself, you'll see that the port connecting to the computer is a USB-A port, and the port connecting to the drone, the dual-battery charger, and the controller are USB-C ports.

A USB-C to USB-A cable, with the ports circled and labeled


Secondly, the controller is now powered with the same battery as the drone. This means that the controller can also be used to charge a drone battery, the controller becomes more lightweight, and you don't need to have a stash of AA batteries. This also means the way the controller is powered on does slightly differ from the standard edition. The details of that are explained in the Getting Started course in our lesson portal. As such, the JROTC edition does come with 3 rechargeable batteries, rather than 2.

CoDrone EDU (JROTC ed.) battery not inserted into controller yet
CoDrone EDU (JROTC ed.) battery inserted into controller


These are the two main differences. There are other minor differences which still do not have an effect on the drone's performance, such as the frame color, the number of screws in the shell, and some menu adjustments on the controller screen. However in terms of performance, the two editions of the drone are the same. You won't have any advantage or disadvantage by having either of the drones in the Aerial Drone Competition.

Here is a full specification list comparing the two editions:

CoDrone EDU (JROTC ed.) CoDrone EDU
Age group 12+ 12+
Pricing $314.99 $214.99
Coding languages Blockly, Python Blockly, Python
Device compatibility Chromebook (Blockly only), macOS,
Windows Chromebook (Blockly only), macOS, Windows
Wireless protocol Radio 2.4 GHz Radio 2.4 GHz
Drone battery & charge time 3.7V | 530mAh | 20C
7-8 min flight time
60 mins charge time
3.7V | 530mAh | 20C
7-8 min flight time
60 mins charge time
Controller battery Lipo battery (same battery as drone) 2x AA batteries (not included)
Number of included lipo batteries 3 2
Sensors Gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, optical flow, bottom range, front range, dual underside color sensor Gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, optical flow, bottom range, front range, dual underside color sensor
Weight & dimensions 54.8 g / 1.93 oz
138.8 x 138.5 x 34.8 mm
5.45 x 5.45 x 1.38 in
54.8 g / 1.93 oz
138.8 x 138.5 x 34.8 mm
5.45 x 5.45 x 1.38 in
Made in South Korea China
USB cable USB-C to USB-A Micro USB to USB-A
Section 889 Compliant Yes Yes

To really get into the details, here are the manufacturers of the internal components of the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition):

Component Type


Component Name



STM32F407VET6 Arm® Cortex®-M4 32-bit

IR range sensor


VL53L0X Time of Flight sensor 

Radio communication

Nordic Semiconductor

nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz Transceiver

Motion processing unit


MPU6883 6-Axis MEMS MotionTrackingTM

Optical flow sensor

Hunan Youxiang Science and TechnologyLtd. Upixels

UP-FLOW-LC-306 Optical flow camera module 


GoerTek Inc.

SPL06-001 Digital Pressure sensor


You can order the CoDrone EDU (JROTC edition) in our store now, as well as the set of 10.

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