We address the problem of managing a drone-based delivery process. We consider the specific situation of a delivery company, that uses a set of trucks equipped with a given number of drones. In particular, items of a limited weight and size could be delivered by using drones. A vehicle, during its trip, can launch a drone when serving a customer, the drone performs a delivery for exactly one customer and returns to the vehicle, possibly at a different customer location. Each drone can be launched several times during the vehicle’s route. It is imposed a limit on the maximum distance that each drone can travel and synchronization requirements between vehicle and drone should be ensured. In particular, it is assumed that a vehicle waits for a drone for a maximum period of time. The aim is to serve all customers within their time window. The problem is modeled as a variant of the vehicle routing problem with time windows. The aim of this work is to analyze the delivery process with drones, by taking into account the total transportation cost and highlighting strategical issues, related to the use of drones. The numerical results, collected on instances generated to be very close to reality, show that the use of drones is not economically convenient in the classical terms. However, when considering negative externalities related to the use of classical vehicles and quality of service requirements, the benefit of using drones becomes relevant.

Last-Mile Deliveries by Using Drones and Classical Vehicles

Di Puglia Pugliese, Luigi;Guerriero, Francesca
2017-01-01

Abstract

We address the problem of managing a drone-based delivery process. We consider the specific situation of a delivery company, that uses a set of trucks equipped with a given number of drones. In particular, items of a limited weight and size could be delivered by using drones. A vehicle, during its trip, can launch a drone when serving a customer, the drone performs a delivery for exactly one customer and returns to the vehicle, possibly at a different customer location. Each drone can be launched several times during the vehicle’s route. It is imposed a limit on the maximum distance that each drone can travel and synchronization requirements between vehicle and drone should be ensured. In particular, it is assumed that a vehicle waits for a drone for a maximum period of time. The aim is to serve all customers within their time window. The problem is modeled as a variant of the vehicle routing problem with time windows. The aim of this work is to analyze the delivery process with drones, by taking into account the total transportation cost and highlighting strategical issues, related to the use of drones. The numerical results, collected on instances generated to be very close to reality, show that the use of drones is not economically convenient in the classical terms. However, when considering negative externalities related to the use of classical vehicles and quality of service requirements, the benefit of using drones becomes relevant.
2017
978-331967307-3
Drone; Last-mile delivery; Time windows; Vehicle routing problem; Mathematics (all)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/269139
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