Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Paul Oh

Second Committee Member

Woosoon Yim

Third Committee Member

Mohamed Trabia

Fourth Committee Member

Georg Mauer

Fifth Committee Member

Jin Ouk Choi

Number of Pages



Current drones perform a wide variety of tasks in surveillance, photography, agriculture, package delivery, etc. However, these tasks are performed passively without the use of human interaction. Aerial manipulation shifts this paradigm and implements drones with robotic arms that allow interaction with the environment rather than simply sensing it. For example, in construction, aerial manipulation in conjunction with human interaction could allow operators to perform several tasks, such as hosing decks, drill into surfaces, and sealing cracks via a drone. This integration with drones will henceforth be known as dexterous aerial manipulation.

Our recent work integrated the worker’s experience into aerial manipulation using haptic technology. The net effect was such a system could enable the worker to leverage drones and complete tasks while utilizing haptics on the task site remotely. However, the tasks were completed within the operator’s line-of-sight. Until now, immersive AR/VR frameworks has rarely been integrated in aerial manipulation. Yet, such a framework allows the drones to embody and transport the operator’s senses, actions, and presence to a remote location in real-time. As a result, the operator can both physically interact with the environment and socially interact with actual workers on the worksite.

This dissertation presents a human-embodied drone interface for dexterous aerial manipulation. Using VR/AR technology, the interface allows the operator to leverage their intelligence to collaboratively perform desired tasks anytime, anywhere with a drone that possesses great dexterity.


aerial manipulation; aerial vehicles; AR/VR; embodiment; robotics


Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Robotics

File Format


File Size

27800 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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