Technology Forecasting of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technologies through Hierarchical S-Curves

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DEFENCE SCIENCE JOURNAL, vol.72, no.1, pp.18-29, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 72 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.14429/dsj.72.16823
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, Metadex, zbMATH, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.18-29
  • Keywords: Unmanned aerial vehicle, Technology life cycle, S-curves, Patent analysis, PATENT DATA, INFORMATION, DIFFUSION, SYSTEM
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study aims to propose a technology forecasting approach based on hierarchical S-curves. The proposed approach uses holistic forecasting by evaluating the S-curves of sub-technologies as well as the main technology under concern. A case study of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies is conducted to demonstrate how the proposed approach works in practice. This is the first study that applies hierarchical S-curves to technology forecasting of unmanned aerial vehicle technologies in the literature. The future trend of the UAV technologies is analysed in detail through a hierarchical S-curve approach. Hierarchical S-curves are also utilised to investigate the sub-technologies of the UAV. In addition, the technology development life cycle of technology is assessed by using the three indexes namely, (1) the current technological maturity ratio (TMR), (2) estimating the number of potential patents that could be granted in the future (PPA), and (3) forecasting the expected remaining life (ERL). The results of this study indicate that the UAV technologies and their sub-technologies are at the growth stage in the technology life cycle, and most of the developments in UAV technology will have been completed by 2048. Hence, these technologies can be considered emerging technologies.