Mapping out research focus for robotics and automation research in construction-related studies: A bibliometric approach

Douglas Omoregie Aghimien, Clinton Ohis Aigbavboa, Ayodeji Emmanuel Oke, Wellington Didibhuku Thwala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The adoption of robotics and automation (R&A) within the construction industry has been adjudged as slow, despite the possibility of it reducing the high risk posed on health and safety of humans by the activities of the industry. The call for research and development in this area of technology to improve its adoption in the delivery of construction projects is evident in past studies. Thus, this paper aims to conduct a review of R&A in construction-related fields with a view to revealing the area of focus of past studies. Design/methodology/approach: A bibliometric approach was adopted for this study, and data used were gathered from the Scopus database. Keywords such as “robotics”, “automation” and “construction” were used to extract papers from the database. VOSviewer was used to prepare a co-authorship and co-occurrence map based on the bibliographic data gathered. Findings: The findings revealed that focus is placed on construction automation, industrial robots and application, robots’ systems and designs, robotics in earthworks, and robots’ control and information system. Furthermore, currently, research focus in this area is tending towards a more digitalised application of R&A especially in the areas of 3D manufacturing. Research limitations/implications: The findings of this study are limited due to the use of a single database. Practical implications: Despite its limitations, the findings open a knowledge gap that can be explored in developing countries particularly in Africa to improve construction delivery in the continent through R&A. Originality/value: The study adopted the bibliometric approach in mapping out research focus in R&A – an aspect of digital technology that has not been given considerable attention in recent bibliometric and scientometric studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1079
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Automation
  • Autonomous robots
  • Construction
  • Construction robotics
  • Digitalization
  • Robotics
  • Robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Engineering


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