Multirotor drone house / launchpad?

I'm seeking an automation rig that helps a multirotor drone auto launch, land, recharge, relaunch. Ideally it would also house the drone and protect it from weather between missions.At a minimum I'm thinking of a flat launchpad with some kind of easy-to-locate target for the drone to land on, with a built-in recharge mechanism. Something even better would include a weatherproof storage pod that opens its roof or doors automatically, allowing the drone to fly in or out.Does anyone know of a commercial or academic solution for this? There was the ScanCam 200 video that circulated a few years ago but I gather that was vaporware.Thanks for any pointers!

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  • As gay as this might sound, Pinterest bro. You will not believe the plethora of DIY shit I have discovered I could build on there. Lots of ideas for houses and launchpads. Seriously, look it up and get to building it yourself! Let me know if I can assist you at all with this. I have some ideas of my own that might come in handy.

  • Hi Todd,

    I’m taking over your questions with quite a bit of delay…

    1. The top layer surface is not made of aluminium anymore, we chosen ENIG instead which is more resistant to oxidation and corrosion.
    2. The system detects what is the right polarity eventually inverting it.
    3. Our plugin includes a LiPo charger that must be installed on the drone. The two spring loaded contacts placed on the landing gear of the drone are responsible for contact and power supply the lipo charger. In this way we provide balanced charging for 1-6S up to 10A.
    4. We are not addressing the precision landing issue, it’s too use case and drone dependent. Our customer NASA uses computer vision, others use RTK gps, ultra-wideband, ir markers, …
    5. Up to 10Ah our system can recharge at the same speed of a regular charger

    Our product has been launched in June and since then we have satisfied customers that started ordering batch orders. More information can be found here:

  • Another project that uses a perch is here.

    And for more info on Skycatch, their vimeo page and their twitter are pretty interesting.

    They even mention that they are using PX4 as the brains, plus some kind of beagleboard and node.js/nodecopter setup.

    It looks like they were started by one of the founders of DroneGames, Christian Sanz.

    • Hi All, 

      We at design remote-controlled charging pads and protective hangars for multicopters and VTOL aircrafts. The Skysense Charging Pad 1) supports nearly all existing multicopters/ VTOL aircrafts and 2) simplifies the takeoff and landing procedures thanks to its wide landing area. See a few pics below:



      We have been selected to showcase our prototype at the Hardware Startup Showcase within the O'Reilly Solid conference in San Francisco, CA on May 21-22:

      We are organizing the Skysense Demo Road Tour in California on May 15-28, starting from San Diego (May 15) up to San Francisco (May 28).

      We are really interested in meeting as many UAV enthusiasts as possible during our visit in California. Please contact me at if you're interested in what we're doing!

      Kind Regards,
      Michele Dallachiesa, PhD

      • Michele, thanks for posting this.  To follow-up on what others have asked:

        - Doesn't the aluminum surface oxidize almost immediately and form an insulating layer of aluminum oxide, making contact charging impractical?

        - How do you ensure that the drone makes contact with the proper polarity pads (or do you rectify the current)?

        - How do you balance the e.g. LiPo cells?

        - How do you guide the drone to a precise landing on this pad?

        - How fast can you recharge a typical system?

        • Did you ever get a response to this Todd?  Did you ever have any luck finding/building an effective charging station?  The one offered by Skysense seems compelling but your observations above raise some valid concerns.  Skywatch also has a compelling product with EVO3 UAV and NEST station but pricing isn't available and it appears that you are required to purchase a license for their version of Pix4D 3D mapping.

          Interested to hear if you were able to make any progress.

      • Michele, can you explain how does the system works ?

        How can be the batteries balanced ?

  • How about using some sort of wirless charging mat?

  • While I don't have a direct answer for you, similar discussion topics in the forums are below:

    Here, Here,Here,Here, Here

    oh, and a video and paper from a related project

    And I believe this project used charging perches too...

    Hope that helps

  • I did find a series of related axademic projects from MIT that centered around battery-swapping as a means to run multiple missions and thereby increase endurance:

    I don't imagine a commercial solution could use battery swaps unless the launchpad+recharge station was sold by the drone manufacturer (like Tesla with its battery-swap-capable cars and new swap stations). The drone would require special onboard hardware to accommodate the battery cartridges and mate with the swap station. Over the long term the industry should probably develop a standard for this.

    Still looking for the right solution...
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