Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, Mechanical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Matthew Rutherford

Second Advisor

Kimon Valavanis

Third Advisor

Lisa Victoravich


Robotics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Vertical take off and landing (VTOL)


Because many of the most widely used UAVs, such as the Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), cannot land securely on sloped or fast-changing surfaces, there is a need to design better deployment and landing stations. This document proposes an approach to design a water-surface self-leveling landing platform by implementing the best concept to be used as a safe ground for UAVs to land and deploy on open waters. After conceptualizing multiple design ideas, these options were laid out in a decision matrix with four criteria: degrees of freedom, mechanical complexity, manufacturing, and cost. The chosen concept was the spherical parallel manipulator that provides the most degrees of freedom and design symmetry allowing for an easy manufacturing process and better control precision. This concept proves innovative as it improves the range of motion with lower energy requirements resulting in a device that provides low inertia, high velocity, and precise spherical motion [36]. A spherical parallel manipulator platform was designed in SolidWorks, and then a 3D-printed prototype was assembled and tested. The forward and inverse kinematic of the mechanism were thoroughly analyzed, and tests were performed to verify the ideal inverse kinematic solution.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Mbidi Santos


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

66 pgs



Included in

Robotics Commons