Scientometric analysis of research on “remotely piloted aircraft”: A research agenda for the construction industry

Hamed Golizadeh, M. Reza Hosseini, Igor Martek, David Edwards, Masoud Gheisari, Saeed Banihashemi, Jingxiao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems have emerged as an established tool within the construction industry. Concurrent with this trend has been the rise in research on RPA, establishing this as a new field of study within the construction management domain. What is needed now is an assessment of the current state of research in this emerging discipline – its strengths and weaknesses – by which future research on RPA in construction may be guided. The purpose of this paper is to address this need. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 59 peer-reviewed journal articles covering RPAs within the construction domain were systematically reviewed using a mixed-methods approach, utilizing qualitative-scientometric analyses techniques. Findings: The results reveal a field of study in its fledgling stage, with a limited number of experts operating somewhat in isolation, from a limited number of institutions. Key publication outlets are identified, with the main focus of research being in the technical areas of remote sensing, photogrammetry and image processing. Practical implications: The study benefits researchers and industry practitioners alike. For researchers, the identified gaps reveal areas of high priority in future research. For construction companies, particularly small to medium-sized businesses, the study raises awareness of the latest developments and potential applicability of RPAs in the industry. Originality/value: The study exposes what is missing from current research: a broader consideration of organizational adjustments needed to accommodate RPA usage, economic analyses and impediments to wider acceptance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-657
Number of pages24
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Construction equipment
  • Digital engineering
  • Digitalization
  • Drones
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) applications
  • Innovation
  • Research agenda
  • UAS
  • UAVs
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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