Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): A Survey on Civil Applications and Key Research Challenges

Hazim Shakhatreh, Ahmad H. Sawalmeh, Ala Al-Fuqaha, Zuochao Dou, Eyad Almaita, Issa Khalil, Noor Shamsiah Othman, Abdallah Khreishah, Mohsen Guizani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1304 Scopus citations


The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is growing rapidly across many civil application domains, including real-time monitoring, providing wireless coverage, remote sensing, search and rescue, delivery of goods, security and surveillance, precision agriculture, and civil infrastructure inspection. Smart UAVs are the next big revolution in the UAV technology promising to provide new opportunities in different applications, especially in civil infrastructure in terms of reduced risks and lower cost. Civil infrastructure is expected to dominate more than $45 Billion market value of UAV usage. In this paper, we present UAV civil applications and their challenges. We also discuss the current research trends and provide future insights for potential UAV uses. Furthermore, we present the key challenges for UAV civil applications, including charging challenges, collision avoidance and swarming challenges, and networking and security-related challenges. Based on our review of the recent literature, we discuss open research challenges and draw high-level insights on how these challenges might be approached.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8682048
Pages (from-to)48572-48634
Number of pages63
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science


  • Civil infrastructure inspection
  • Delivery of goods
  • Precision agriculture
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Remote sensing
  • Search and rescue
  • Security and surveillance
  • UAVs
  • Wireless coverage


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