Dr. Mangal Kothari

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

Prospective students/staff:

Students can contact to work in the following areas:  

1. Autopilot development for VTOL and fixed-wing UAVs

2. Swarm of multi-copter

3. GPS denied navigation and SLAM

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 

9. Intelligent ground vehicle development

10. Optimization and control of legged locomotion 

11. Avionics (FMCW radar and GPS receiver)



  • 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