The goal of this project was to design the systems and algorithms necessary to allow a quadcopter to autonomous locate and land on a station target. The purpose of this system was to outline the framework for a quadcopter based data collection or surveillance system that copes with the relatively short battery life of these highly mobile devices by consistently landing the AAV safely in a designated location to be recharged. The 3D Robotics ArduCopter was chosen as the quadcopter platform since it is capable of autonomously hovering in place and is capable of carrying a payload, such as the camera used to determine the location of the dock. A system was devised such that the quadcopter can correctly determine the location of a target ground station while hovering and then land when above the target. Only commercially available components and free software were used to so that the entire docking system is easily accessible to future researchers and UAV enthusiasts.
Full report (pdf)
Movie of copter landing under camera control.