Automation for drone landing pad


Our Competences in this Project


Docker Container
Data Exchange Layer
Cabinet Design
  Automated Drones 

Description of the Use Case

Nowadays, drones can take on a variety of tasks that were previously costly and time-consuming or not entirely safe for those involved. Operations may even have had to be shut down during this time. 

Our customer specializes in unmanned aerial systems and creates efficient solutions: Areas can be surveyed, mapped and digitized or industrial plants can be inspected regularly. A high degree of automation allows fast planning and safe, cost-effective execution.

In this use case the end customer uses drones to permanently monitor and analyze a goods handling area. The drones used require defined landing sites to stay overnight and fully automatic loading facilities in a protected environment.

When developing its monitoring and analysis equipment for the end customer, which includes drones and docking stations, our customer sought the expertise of SALZ Automation's OPC UA, Codesys and EtherCAT-based automation solution. The solution needed to operate autonomously, ensuring a protected environment for both the drones and the facility.

Performance Requirements 


Charging Process

The drones are loaded via an extendable contact rod. The charging system is consists of sensors and actuators that are present on the docking pad.


The requirement was to confirm the positioning of the drone using the data from these sensors and actuators and deploying the charging cord which is attached to the extendable rod. The system needed to be autonomous.



The drones must be positioned precisely on the landing area for the loading process. They are equipped by video image analysis software developed by our customer. 


The requirement was to access the data from this application and integrate it with the docking pad infrastructure to makes sure the drone is in the right position before triggering the charging algorithm.


Protection and Monitoring

The docking pad is located at a height of 30 m and is protected by a dome system. The process of landing, positioning, and charging contact is video-monitored to make error states visually detectable.


The requirement was to integrate this system with the automation system.

Individual Steps of the Project



SALZ Automation products were used to detect the landing situation. The landing position is detected with the help of the cameras on the landing site. The automation system is connected to the control center, which allows it to access data from the Building Management System (BMS).


Controlling the charging rod is done via various actuators and components integrated in the system. The video signals are analyzed in the control system. For this purpose the custimer developed an independently algorithm that was deployed on the SALZ Automation Controller AMAX-80C using Docker image.


After landing on the correct position, the logic for the movement via the linear axis was developed with CODESYS in SALut.Studio, the SALZ Automation programming environment in accordance with IEC61131-3. The communication between run-time and video image analysis is carried out over OPC UA with CODESYS Master on the SALZ Automation Controller AMAX-80C.

The Data Exchange Layer (D.E.L) is employed as well for permitted data transfer and exchange.


Control cabinets were designed for the final customer solution so that all landing sites for the drones have the same structure. 


Architecture of the Project


Implementing the project was quick and easy for the customer, as they were able to develop the video image analysis independently of the automation system. The connection to the runtime took place in the D.E.L. via the non-realtime OPU UA server.

Control cabinets were designed for the final customer solution so that all landing sites for the drones have the same structure. 

CODESYS  I  OPC UA  I  Docker Container  I  Data Exchange Layer  I Cabinet Design
Control cabinet designed for the drone project

We offer tailor-made automation solutions, supported by comprehensive expertise in automation, embedded development and product range.

SALZ Automation Solutions