Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Guilherme Pereira

Committee Member

Jason Gross

Committee Member

Nicholas Szczecinski


The use of multi-rotor aerial vehicles, also known as drones, has increased significantly in the last decade due to their ease of use and applicability to an extended range of functions. Therefore, the importance of making these vehicles safe, for both themselves and the people around them, has also increased. A clear solution to this problem is the development of algorithms that generate collision-free paths using different sensors. However, even with such onboard computation, avoiding a collision is not always possible. Thus, the use of a protective structure (cage) around the aerial vehicle is a solution to keep it safe from potential accidents. A protective structure can be designed based on the application of the aerial vehicle. Different protection ideas for aerial vehicles are discussed in this work. Additionally, two protective cages have been designed, prototyped, and analyzed. The first cage has the shape of a truncated icosahedron. The drone is mounted inside the cage and is connected to it through a 3-axis gimbal system, which prevents unwanted rotations due to collision. As a result, the drone is less likely to lose thrust and fall after any collision. The second cage is smaller than the first one since it does not contain a gimbal system. It has the shape of a turtle shell. The drone is connected to a platform in the center of the cage through a bearing, thus allowing the drone to rotate with respect to the cage in the yaw direction. Although the cage protects the drone and its propellers from any impact, it does not allow the vehicle to roll or pitch, which may cause loss of thrust after a collision. If the drone falls, the turtle shape helps the drone to reorient into its take-off position to restart its task. We present experiments with these cages and compare their performance in real flights.