Prototype docking station design

A project log for Autonomous recharging and docking for multirotors

A system that enables multirotors to dock and self recharge which allows them to perform longer autonomous missions

Giovanni DursoGiovanni Durso 09/28/2014 at 04:040 Comments

In order to achieve the task of docking a multirotor for recharging a custom docking station had to be designed. Several designs were considered against the requirements in order to select the most appropriate.


  • Shall allow a +- 5cm tolerance on landing
  • Shall be able to connect to at least a single lipo(4s) and the corresponding balance
  • connections

    – Therefore be capable of 2 + 5 connections(power and balance) to 4+10 connections (for 2 4s lipos in parallel)

  • Should be capable of allowing a +- 15 deg orientation misalignment
  • Should allow a range of multirotor sizes and configurations

    Mechanical battery swap
    For this design the copter lands and a mechanism removes the battery from the copter and then switches in a fresh one from a cartridge
    Mechanical gantry for alignment

    For this design the copter lands on the target in the approximate area then an arm sweeps it to an appropriate position.

    Big cylinder with notches
    For this design the copter has contacts on the arms and lands into a cylinder with triangular notches to guide it into a resting position

    Guiding cones
    This system is based off satellite style docking mechanisms with one side active and the other passive. The cone system fits over the camera and sonar assembly at the base of the copter and a cylinder with a raised section and a mating cone is placed on the landing target in such a way that the docking is complete when the landing skids barely touch the target.
    Arbitrary contact grid
    This system is based off the idea of having metal contacts placed on the landing skids and a landing on a target with a number of contacts in a pattern that maximize misalignment

  • Discussions