In the last few decades, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been introduced
aiming to bring more comfort to human life by integrating smartness into daily objects,
resulting in the idea of the smart city. Guaranteeing the well-being of residents and assessing industry
and urban planning from an ecological and sustainable perspective are the main goals for the
smart city. Great potentials are brought to the public and civil areas by the Aerial Ad Hoc Network
(AANET) concept, especially in applications that are risky to human lives. AANET, like any emerging
technology, comes with many challenges that have to be overcome to be employed efficiently.
In this paper, we make a detailed survey on current literature, standards, and projects of selforganizing
AANET in smart cities. Also, we intend to present a profound knowledge of this active
research area by identifying features, design characteristics, architectures, routing protocols, and
security aspects for the design and implementation of self-organizing AANET. Furthermore, we
discuss existing solutions, indicate assessment metrics along with current applications, and highlight
the main research scope for further developments. This article surveys the work done toward
AANET-related outstanding issues, intending to encourage further research in this field.