Design and Implementation of Adaptive Morphology Feature for a Tetrahedron Shaped Drone

  • Obadah Wali

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


In recent years, there has been an increase in the development of drone technologies. Furthermore a considerable interest in developing drones that utilizes platforms allowing for adaptive morphology has been growing steadily. In this work, we use a quadcopter to develop a drone with the feature of transforming its shape from a flat triangle to a tetrahedron. To achieve this property, two main features are considered. First, a controller for the propeller thrust force to control the movement of the triangular side facet. Second, a 60-degree angled bevel gear is used to ensure the positioning concurrency of the facets. In this study, we use MATLAB simulations to study the feasibility of the proposed concept. We use the simulations to determine the base requirement for the controller dynamics by simulating the output angle of the facets and to study the effect of the controllers on the angle reached by the facets. In addition, we perform an experimental analysis to validate our results from the simulations. We investigate the design limitations of the controllers and check the feasibility of the proposed drone design by studying the thrust force generated. The simulations and experiments showed that the presence of bevel gears can reduce the controller dynamics requirement to only a proportional controller. Furthermore, the thrust test for this drone design showed an estimated thrust force of approximately 1.7 times the thrust of a single motor. These results are promising and contribute to setting the foundation for more rigorous study of this design of drones, which have a noticeable impact on the ease of packaging and transportation applications.
Date of AwardApr 2021
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorEric Feron (Supervisor)


  • foldable drone
  • tetragedron drone
  • control theory
  • bevel gears connection
  • dynamics
  • robotics

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