Automated Mindstorms battery changing station for drones

From Makezine:

This cool project was built by a Danish company, Valhalla Drone Solutions, a group of seven engineers from the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. It’s a Lego Mindstorms robot that automatically switches a quadrotor’s battery pack.

When the drone lands, it’s positioned by a belt, an assembly pops out, and the old battery is lowered out of the quadrotor. That battery is placed into a rotating disk that spins to position a fresh battery, which is then placed into the drone.

What is really cool, however, is that this is the prototype for an actual product Valhalla hopes to sell, which they call the Odin Platform. One role they envision the product filling is resupplying agricultural drones. Way cool!

[via The NXT Step]

Views: 1357

Comment by criro1999 on January 2, 2014 at 6:50pm

Nice concept.

Drone should have 2 batteries, one light, for power the flight control and another for motors. The device should change just the battery for motors, while the other battery should keep the flight control warm and avoid reset/rearm.

Comment by Lars Holst Hansen on January 3, 2014 at 5:55am
The "concept" is nice and I guess a it must work before drone deliveries will be affordable. It seems to be only at the concept stage although the video is edited as if this is already working.
Comment by FD on January 3, 2014 at 8:23am

Interesting approach. I remember that someone here had started with a battery switching / landing pad project - wasn't that called "Swapper"?

It's good that this important building block to complete autonomy is getting tackled. Wish I had more time to work on it myself...


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Comment by John Church on January 3, 2014 at 9:06am

I always thought a Roomba could do the job. Roomba dock beacon on the copter and Roomba will navigate to the copter to charge it.

Comment by Petr Hubacek on January 3, 2014 at 1:46pm

Battery exchange station makes sense while charging station less while the charging time is too long to be interresting.

I did build a battery exchange station for my several remotely controled cars from merkur toys (like mechano). For different battery sizes (accupacs 6V, 9.6V, 7.2V, 11.1V - Lipo & NiMH) for charging of discharged batteries. This including different battery voltage detection (by a hobby charger). Also using carousel and one horizontal movement... 

It is difficult do this sort of structures solid, rigid, resistent to pendulum motions due to all the movements even slow ones. You can see on the video that all the stuff is "not sure to move exactly". My goal was to make uninteruptable battery exchange station: cycling exchangin&charging.

I didn't suceed in one month of work, so I do the main work on my cars project - remote GUI.

I would be happy to see these guys have success to do their station - I wold buy one or several.

Comment by Jack Crossfire on January 3, 2014 at 2:12pm

But it's not 3D printed. It has to be 3D printed to get an IPO.

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