Associate Professor Karl Alexander Stol

PhD and MS in Aerospace Engineering Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2001; BE (First Class Honours) in Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, 1996

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Associate Professor


Karl Stol earned his PhD in Aerospace Engineering Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, in developing structural dynamics models and control systems for modern wind turbines. Since joining the University of Auckland in 2004, he has supervised over 100 project students and co-authored over 90 refereed publications in the application of control techniques to wind energy, mobile robotics, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Research | Current

  • Control system modelling and simulation
  • Multivariable control system design
  • Navigation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, drones) in unstructured environments
  • Flight control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, drones) for physical interaction with the environment

Teaching | Current

MECHENG 322 - Control Systems
MECHENG 724 - Multivariable Control Systems
MECHENG 720 - Advanced Multivariable Control Systems

Postgraduate supervision

PhD Students

S. Al-zubaidi, Rotor Configuration and Control of High Precision Drones, to complete in 2024
D. De Mel, Energy optimal control of a high performance electric vehicles, to complete in 2022
P. Mendes, Optimal Flight Control of Multirotor UAVs during Physical Interaction, to complete in 2022
T-J. Lin, Autonomous Navigation of UAVs in a Plantation Forest, to complete in 2022
J. Bannwarth, Wind Disturbance Rejection for UAVs, to complete in 2021

O. Grant, The Handling Qualities Assessment of Novel Personal Air Vehicle Systems, 2019
J. Kutia*, Aerial manipulation for canopy sampling, 2019
L. Xie*, Energy efficient omni-wheeled robot, 2018
Z. Chen, Smart rotors for next generation wind turbines, 2017
L. Postelnik, Practical output regulation of non-minimum phase nonlinear systems, 2016
R. Chan, Traction control of two-wheeled robots with model predictive control, 2016
Z. Kausar, Stability augmentation of two-wheeled mobile robots on pedestrian terrain, 2014
A. Kumar, Multivariable control of wind turbines for fatigue load reduction in the presence of nonlinearities, 2012
H. Namik, Individual pitch and disturbance accommodating control of floating offshore wind turbines, 2012
G. Ferrari*, Development of an aeroelastic simulation for the analysis of vertical-axis wind turbines, 2012

Master of Engineering Students (by thesis)

R. Buchanan, Aerodynamics of UAVs, 2019
P. Rana, Timber stocktaking using UAVs, 2019
C. Busch, Tree branch tracking, 2019
S. Jiang, Under-canopy autonomous flight control of a UAV, 2016
C. Chun, Vehicle motion estimation using low-cost optical flow and sensor fusion, 2012
M. Spencer, Model predictive control of a wind turbine using short term wind field predictions, 2011
D. Jones, Stability of two-wheeled robots in low-traction environments, 2011
T. Tan, Wind disturbance estimation on wind turbines, 2011
Y-H. Yang, Real time simultaneous localisation and mapping, 2008
T. Kim*, Control of a 3 DOF quadrotor model, 2007
W. Zhao, Individual blade pitch for active yaw control of a horizontal-axis wind turbine, 2006

* = as a co-supervisor


2019 Sustained Excellence in Teaching, Faculty of Engineering
2007 Early Career Teaching Excellence Award, Faculty of Engineering
2005 UoA Spark $40k Challenge Winner in a team of 5


  • Deputy Head of Department (Academic), Mechanical Engineering
  • Academic Programmes Committee, Faculty of Engineering
  • University General Education Board of Studies

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Senior Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Chen, Z. J., Stol, K. A., & Richards, P. J. (2019). Preliminary design of multirotor UAVs with tilted-rotors for improved disturbance rejection capability. AEROSPACE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 92, 635-643. 10.1016/j.ast.2019.06.038
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter Richards
  • Bannwarth, J. X. J., Chen, Z. J., Stol, K. A., MacDonald, B. A., & Richards, P. J. (2019). Aerodynamic Force Modeling of Multirotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. AIAA JOURNAL, 57 (3), 1250-1259. 10.2514/1.J057165
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bruce MacDonald, Peter Richards
  • Bannwarth, J. X. J., Chen, Z. J., Stol, K. A., MacDonald, B. A., & Richards, P. J. (2018). Development of a Wind Tunnel Experimental Setup for Testing Multirotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Turbulent Conditions. Proceedings 2018 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), 724-729. Auckland, NEW ZEALAND: IEEE. 10.1109/AIM.2018.8452316
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bruce MacDonald, Peter Richards
  • Kutia, J., Stol, K., & Xu, W. (2018). Aerial Manipulator Interactions with Trees for Canopy Sampling. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 1-1. 10.1109/TMECH.2018.2837005
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter Xu
  • Xie, L., Henkel, C., Stol, K., & Xu, W. (2018). Power-minimization and energy-reduction autonomous navigation of an omnidirectional Mecanum robot via the dynamic window approach local trajectory planning. International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 15 (1), 172988141875456-172988141875456. 10.1177/1729881418754563
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter Xu
  • Postelnik, L., Swain, A. K., & Stol, K. A. (2017). Approximate stable system centre approach to output tracking of non-minimum phase nonlinear systems. Journal of the Franklin Institute, 354 (8), 3322-3340. 10.1016/j.jfranklin.2017.01.007
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Akshya Swain
  • Chen, Z. J., Stol, K. A., & Mace, B. R. (2016). Wind turbine blade optimisation with individual pitch and trailing edge flap control. Renewable Energy, 103, 750-765. 10.1016/j.renene.2016.11.009
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Brian Mace
  • Chen, Z. J., Stol, K. A., & Mace, B. R. (2016). System identification and controller design for individual pitch and trailing edge flap control on upscaled wind turbines. Wind Energy, 19 (6), 1073-1088. 10.1002/we.1885
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Brian Mace


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 8, Room 845
New Zealand

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