Journal Articles

A systematic review of unmanned aerial vehicle application areas and technologies in the AEC domain


The recent increase in the integration of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in civilian usage stems mainly from modern technological advancements and the devices’ abilities to accomplish civilian tasks in a quick, safe, and cost-efficient manner. One sector that witnessed tremendous UAV impact is the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. Among several AEC applications, UAV technology is currently being implemented for building and bridge inspection, progress monitoring, and urban planning. The following review aims at thoroughly classifying all AEC-related UAV applications within the past decade, extending the understanding of the current state of UAV implementation in the AEC domain, and outlining relevant research trends in this setting. The review follows a systematic literature assessment methodology in which peer-reviewed bibliographical databases were queried, based on specific search keywords, for AEC-related UAV applications. This study also discusses the technological components(flying styles, types of platforms, onboard sensors)to assist in better developing, integrating, and understanding the technology implemented in the AEC industry. Our search query yielded 228articles, of which 86 met our inclusion criteria and were therefore analyzed. Seven categories of structural and infrastructure inspection, transportation, cultural heritage conservation, city and urban planning, progress monitoring, post-disaster, and construction safety were identified and fully analyzed in this study.The study revealed that UAV integration in the AEC domain might exhibit equal, if not, higher outcomes compared to conventional methods as to time, accuracy, safety, and costs. In terms of technology, the control styles reported were mostly autonomous and manual.Rotary wing vehicles were the predominant type of platforms in the literature. Of the rotary wing type, quadcopters were most commonly employed. Readily available, or “off-the-shelf” video recording cameras and thermal cameras were most frequently mounted on UAVs, followed by LiDAR and laser scanning devices. Other sensors included Radio Frequency Identification and Ultrasonic Beacon System.The outcome of this study would benefit both AEC researchers and professionals to recognize the potentials of UAVs and understand the requirements and challenges for their successful integration.


Publication Date: 07/26/2019

Source: Journal of Information Technology in Construction


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