Drone Odyssey Competition – Lesson Learned

Date: May 22, 2018

Today is a big day for Jay.  It is his first national competition.  He had never took part in this kind of competition before.


He will be representing Da Vinci Innovation Lab @ Suntec.


This is the only official drone that can be used in the competition.  A Parrot Mambo mini-drone.  It is programmable using Tynker blocky programming language.

After playing with this drone for almost 2 months.  It is a “boleh tahan” drone.  However, in my opinion, a lot of “variance” in this small drones.  The variance in engines, the variance in its blades.  Wind effect differently on the each drone.  Turbulence effect is different too.  It is not perfect, but doable.  That means, the “luck” component will play a huge impact here.


3 teams, 7 students participating and representing Da Vinci Innovation Lab @ Suntec.

All of them have gone thru 6 special training classes to prepare for today competition.


Jay is in this team.


Competition venue consists of this 5×5 squares.  And they will draw lots to choose where the building (1), terrorist (2), hospital (3) and injured person (4) going to be placed.

Basic rules.  Start from the red rectangular box, fly over to the building, take picture (25 points), then fly to the terrorist take picture (25 points), then, fly to the hospital take picture (25 points), and lastly, fly to the injured person and take picture (25 points).  Then, fly back to the red starting rectangular square (20 points).

Each picture must have 50% of the image.  If not, you do  not score any point.

If you do not have >50% of the building (first image).  Then, you will have zero even if you taken any others picture.  This is the minimum requirement.


The organization of this event is a bit messy.

  1. They claimed they sent email, no one received it.
  2. No one knew that all the three team is been allocated in afternoon slot.
  3. The secondary school team are grouped as primary school team.

Also, the rules brief inside the briefing room, is different from the rules at the competition arena.

Some said they are allow to do 10min of trial and run.  But they were asked to stop at the 7th minute.

Some said each team can only have 3x runs.  But I see some teams have done more than 10 runs during their turns.

All the volunteers does not seems to understand the rules.

Some were briefed that they will pick the best run out of the 3x runs.  But later, you found out the fact that it is not the case.  They only take the last run.  Even you do well on the first two runs, it is not counted.

Some team have very good volunteers there, who is helpful and always trying to help the students.  Some are not so lucky.

And wow… It is quite messy.  We parents standing up there watching the competition, can tell… it is very messy.


Yup… Let’s go!


First lesson.  You suppose to watch out the time.  Be it 10 min, or 7 min or even 5 min.  Some one in the team should watch the time.  Although there are time keeper, but that time keeper is not going to remind you about the time.

So, during the first round.  They didn’t even get their drone flying.


After first round failure, they came back to figure out what is the best way to do it.


The real competition round started.


They have a good round.

The first image is good.  The second image is < 50%, so it is out.  The third and fourth also not counted.  And the drone make it back to the red rectangular box.  So they scored 25 + 20 = 45 points.  Good job!

I see many other schools mostly get zero.


Second round of competition.

Lousy draw.  The building is at the side.  And the 2nd terrorist is at the angle too.

First run … good picture of the building.  But didnt get the terrorist.

The second run.  It is a good run.  Should get 75 points.  Because of taken 3 photos successfully.

There were asked to do the third run.  So, basically, just to re-run the program will do.

As you can see, the placement of the drone is not at the same as last run.  So, it missed the building photo.  And because of that… you get zero.  hahahahahaha

What a luck.

So, end up both round is total 45 points.

I think it is not good enough to enter the final in July.  But it is a good experience for the kids.

We still need to wait for the official result 1-2 days later.  There are may be close to 100 teams from all the primary schools around the nation entering this contest.  School such as Nan hua sent 10 teams, etc..  So, it all depends on luck.  So far, we heard a lot get 45, there are 100 and 95 too.  so, I think have to see their luck.  Stay tune.

But the lesson learned is…

  1.  Time management very important.  Must know how much time you have left.
  2.  No need to be so precise.  Must learn how to score points.
  3.  Always ask questions.  If you were told 10 minutes but only given 5 minutes.  Must ask why?
  4. Must always ask about the rules before performing the test.

But I am glad that the kids are having so much fun.  It is a good experience and valuable one too.  It will help them to do better next time.

This is their first competition, and in my opinion, it is purely based on luck.  If you draw a good lot, your path of flight is straight and turn left or right, then, you are lucky.  If you get a good volunteer in your team, they will help you.  Instead of ignorance.  If your drone’s blade is not dented, your drone will have 70% chance to do what it suppose to do.

Good job Jay Jay!

Let’s wait few days to see the results.  It is going to be very tight but let’s see how.










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