How about a auto recharge landing platform for copters?

so i been toying with this idea

buck charge controller board in the quad

simple contacts on landing gear to make contact with the platform

landing pad with contacts

maybe 19V supply (notebook ac adapter)


absolute position might be a problem, this might work but would add a lot of complexity




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There are a number of people here with ideas or plans; but if you jump on it soon, you can maybe show off yours first :)

And of course the guys at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zürich in Switzerland have just what you describe already... see their videos, just search here for the ETH videos. The landing pads show up in a few of them briefly.

sounds very intresting, but no luck finding the videos, maybe you could provide a link


Hi, This system works, but in the field there isn't the luxury of a multi-camera system to provide the position data. It's a bit more tricky. I have a plan, but want to prove it first before sharing it. Once this is cracked, the use of UAVs become really scalable because absolutely no skill is required to use them, so they can become purely mission-based machines.

yeah we don't have mm position accuracy

ps, we could do a complete autonomous cross country flight with auto recharge :D

How about induction? It would take longer to charge but I've seen wireless chargers on computer mice. why not a quadrocopter?

i looked into it, the fundamental problem is positioning; you need that thing to land on top of the charger with maybe +-0.1m or better.

induction is not necessarily slower, actually if you keep the airgap in the <mm range you would not have a problem transferring 500W with a small "split transformer" over longer distance, 2m, like you see in those wireless power application you'll be lucky to transfer 10W with a 1kg mass on the quadrocopter.

we could maybe get somewhere with computer vision sadly for anything more sophisticated one would need a real computer

and there is this guy who is taking a laser range finder apart from one of those automated cleaning robots to open source it

For positionning there is maybe a mecanic solution. if you use a cone adapter to drive the landing (like fuel recharge system on planes).

There is also RTK to enhanced GPS precision :

Hi ctech

I'm looking for people to help with the auto recharge landing platform as part of the Pigeon Post project ( for more info).  What the system needs is a platform which copters of all types and sizes can land on but still make contacts with the level of charge they need.

If the platforms have concentric rings for contacts the orientation of the copter wouldn't be an issue, just the position.  Like someone else said a cone shape would help.  Maybe the platform could have a single lazer pointing up from the centre that a copter could simply follow down?   Maybe the copter could use an IR camera to see a distinctive arrangement of LEDs on the platform?  Pigeon Post copters will/may have an RFID reader built in so if each charger has a powered RFID the copter can home in on the strengthening signal from up to 10 metres away.

Any other suggestions?  Am i missing something really obvious?


(I was thinking of a 12V system so copters can land on car roofs to hitch a ride back up wind and charge up at the same time.  Car/van top chargers could also be used in disaster areas where mains power is not available.  The Pigeon post copter can get medical supplies into difficult areas hopping between car tops, even if the cars can't get through them selves.)

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