Toward digitalization in the construction industry with immersive and drones technologies: A critical literature review

Faris Elghaish, Sandra Matarneh, Saeed Talebi, Michail Kagioglou, M. Reza Hosseini, Sepehr Abrishami

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a critical literature review was utilized in order to provide a clear review of the relevant existing studies. The literature was analyzed using the meta-synthesis technique to evaluate and integrate the findings in a single context.

Digital transformation in construction requires employing a wide range of various technologies. There is significant progress of research in adopting technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, and immersive technologies in the construction industry over the last two decades. The purpose of this research is to assess the current status of employing UAVs and immersive technologies toward digitalizing the construction industry and highlighting the potential applications of these technologies, either individually or in combination and integration with each other.


The key findings are: (1) UAVs in conjunction with 4D building information modeling (BIM) can be used to assess the project progress and compliance checking of geometric design models, (2) immersive technologies can be used to enable controlling construction projects remotely, applying/checking end users’ requirements, construction education and team collaboration.

Practical implications
A detailed discussion around the application of UAVs and immersive technologies is provided. This is expected to support gaining an in-depth understanding of the practical applications of these technologies in the industry.

The review contributes a needed common basis for capturing progress made in UAVs and immersive technologies to date and assessing their impact on construction projects. Moreover, this paper opens a new horizon for novice researchers who will conduct research toward digitalized construction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-363
Number of pages19
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Issue number3
Early online date9 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021


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