Humanitarian Drones: A Review and Research Agenda

Elsevier, Internet of Things (Netherlands), Volume 16, December 2021
Rejeb A., Rejeb K., Simske S., Treiblmaier H.
This study investigates the capabilities, performance outcomes, and barriers of drones applied to humanitarian logistics (HL). A systematic literature review was conducted to synthesize prior research on drones and cumulatively identify current knowledge gaps which require further investigation. In order to identify the relevant literature on the topic, a rigorous research protocol was applied for the retrieval and selection processes. In total, 142 publications fulfilled the selection criteria and were thoroughly analyzed. The findings of this review paper summarize the capabilities, barriers and performance outcomes of humanitarian drones applied to logistics operations, management, and governance in a comprehensive framework. More specifically, three important capabilities (i.e., transportation and delivery; surveying and monitoring; communication and integration), three performance outcomes (i.e., flexibility and responsiveness; cost reduction; sustainability) and adoption barriers in three areas (i.e., technology; organization; environment) were identified. Based on these findings, future research directions are derived for the capabilities of humanitarian drones, their performance outcomes, and their respective barriers. This study analyzes potential applications of drones in the humanitarian field and presents a comprehensive agenda that structures and guides further research on the topic.