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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Golizadeh, H., Hosseini, M.R., Martek, I., Edwards, D., Gheisari, M., Banihashemi, S. and Zhang, J. (2020), "Scientometric analysis of research on “remotely piloted aircraft”: A research agenda for the construction industry", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 634-657. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-02-2019-0103
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