Dr. Mangal Kothari

Associate Professor
Department of Aerospace Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
mangal@iitk.ac.in, Ph: +91-512-2596104 (O)

Talented students wanted with experience in (a) embedded C++ (STM32 + RTOS (Nuttx) experience would be helpful) (b) Robot Operating System (ROS) (c) swarm, and (d) robotics. Well-paid positions of  11+ months are also available for capable candidates.


  • PhD, Control Systems, University of Leicester
  • MSc[Engg.], Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • B.E., EI&C, University of Rajasthan


Research interests:

  • Aerial Robotics:
    • Flight Vehicle Guidance and Control (Fixed-Wing, Rotorcraft, Multi-rotor, VTOL)
    • Autopilot development: Embedded Systems, RTOS 
    • Motion Planning, Coordinated control of UAVs/MAVs
    • State Estimation: AHRS, Localization, GPS Denied Navigation, SLAM 
    • Machine learning: deep  and reinforcement learning algorithms
    • Computer vision 
  • Spacecraft Mechanics
  • Optimal control, Nonlinear and Adaptive control
  • Stochastic Planning under Uncertainty (MDP/POMDP)


The focus of our group is to develop and validate algorithms for autonomous vehicles that include fixed-wing UAVs/MAVs, multi-rotor, and ground vehicles. Our main research focus is on autopilot design and guidance strategies. We also develop localization algorithms to estimate states of a vehicle or a group of vehicles. Furthermore, we are involved in path/motion planning, formation control, and coordination of multiple agents.

Selected Publications 

  1. Nidhish Raj, Ravi Banavar, Abhishek, and Mangal Kothari: Robust Attitude Tracking Control of Aerobatic Helicopters: A Geometric Backstepping Approach,  IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, IEEE, 2020, doi: 10.1109/TCST.2020.2969124. 
  2. Mahathi T Bhargavapuri, Animesh Kumar Shastry, Harsh Sinha, Soumya R Sahoo, and Mangal Kothari: Vision-based Autonomous Tracking and Landing of a Fully-actuated Rotorcraft, Control Engineering Practice, Elsevier, Vol. 89, pp. 113-129, 2019, doi:10.1016/j.conengprac.2019.05.015.
  3. Arijit Sen, Soumya R Sahoo, and Mangal Kothari: Circumnavigation on Multiple Circles around a Non-stationary Target with Desired Angular Spacing, IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, IEEE, 2019.
  4. Jay Patrikar, M. V. Ramana , Anay Pattanaik, Hardik Parwana, and Mangal Kothari: Nested Saturation based Guidance Law for Unmanned Aerial vehicles, accepted for the publication in Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement ASME, Vol. 141, Issue 7, pp. 2019, doi:10.1115/1.4043107.
  5. Abhishek Kumar Shastry, Mangal Kothari, and Abhishek: Generalized Flight Dynamic Model of Quadrotor Using Hybrid Blade Element Momentum Theory, Journal of Aircraft, AIAA, 2018, Vol. 55, Issue 5, pp. 2162-2168, doi: 10.2514/1.C034899.
  6. Swati Swarnkar, Hardik Parwana, Mangal Kothari, and Abhishek: Biplane-Quadrotor Tailsitter UAV: Flight Dynamics and Control, Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, AIAA, Vol. 41, Issue 5, pp. 1049-1067, 2018, doi: 10.2514/1.G003201.
  7. M. V. Ramana and Mangal Kothari: A Pursuit Strategy to Capture High Speed Evaders using Multiple Pursuers, Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, AIAA, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp 139-149, 2017, doi: 10.2514/1.G000584.
  8. Mangal Kothari and Ian Postlethwaite: A Probabilistically Robust Path Planning Algorithm for UAVs using Rapidly-exploring Random Trees, Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, Springer, Vol. 71, Issue 2, pp. 231-253, 2013, doi: 10.1007/s10846-012-9776-4.
  9. Radhakant Padhi and Mangal Kothari: Model Predictive Static Programming: A Promising Real-time Suboptimal Control Design for a Class of Nonlinear System, International Journal of Innovative Computing, Information and Control, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 399-411, 2009.

Detailed publication list is available at:

1. https://scholar.google.co.in/citations?hl=en&user=cbtKb54AAAAJ

2. https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=55807803900 

3. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mangal_Kothari/research

4. ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4713-7832

Students can contact to work in the following areas: 

1. Autopilot development for VTOL and fixed-wing UAVs

2. GPS denied navigation and SLAM

3. Intelligent ground vehicle development

4. Space debris mitigation

5. Pursuit-evasion games

6. Stochastic planning under uncertainty

7. Reinforcement learning for control and guidance of VTOL

8. Computer vision for drone identification and tracking