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 http://cricket.csail.mit.edu/ but would add a lot of complexity
My Roomba cleaner does a good job of self docking based on, I assume, an IR beacon. The Roomba would have two receivers slightly apart. As it "locks" onto a dock, it drives towards it in a zig-zag as the beam tightens into a point (the LED).
You could do something like this? Have a series of LEDs pointing up at an angle making an upside-down cone with a centre LED as the bull's eye.
Not sure on how accurate you can make a landing though - I'm still a noob...
If you used each leg of the landing gear as a contact, you could have a rather large patch for it to land on and still work.
Either that, or an induction charger, then you wouldnt need contacts :)
There would be a bit of weight with an induction charger if you wanted to transfer a lot of current quickly. You could improve that if you used a higher frequency (say 400Hz) but there is still the weight of the secondary coil and rectifier. There would also be losses if it is not spot on. Not saying it would not work. it would be a "cooler" way but the added complexity...
See attached. I was thinking of a pad mad from a piece of copper clad sectioned into 4 sections. Each opposite section is positive and negative. You have 4 pick-up points (4 legs / feet) which will fit into the squares. There is a simple rectifier on-board the quad which will allow you to land in any orientation so long as you have at least one of each polarity leg touching the surface. You could transfer a lot of current quite quickly with something like this and the only extra weight would be the contact pads on the feet.
There is a bit more required but that is the basic idea..
If you really wanted to be clever, you could build the charge circuitry into the base station which would then reduce the weight even more.
Just an idea... ;)
That would work :)
the bright light idea could work Crispin; can a camera see a bright IR LED in sunlight?
the accuracy just has to be better then about half the distance between the legs maybe 20cm...rotation not a problem with a magnetometer
It does not have to read it from far. A couple of meters? The GPS / sonar will bring it into range.
I want to get a couple of the serial cameras (mods: delete link if I've been naughty) for a planned range finder but your nice link(!) has given me another idea...