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The Time-Dependent Multiple Flying Sidekicks Traveling Salesman Problem: Parcel Delivery with Traffic Congestion

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Document pages: 38 pages

Abstract: This research examines the impacts of congestion on the road network in a last-mile delivery system consisting of a truck and multiple drones. Existing literature in this area assumes that the truck travel time between two nodes is fixed. However, this assumption may be dangerous considering that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) have limited endurance, as congestion may delay the truck’s arrival at retrieval locations, potentially causing crashes. We introduce the time-dependent multiple flying sidekicks traveling salesman problem, in which truck travel times on each road segment may vary throughout the day. A mixed integer linear programing formulation is provided for small-scale problems, while an ant-pair colony system heuristic is proposed for problems of realistic scale. Results indicate significant improvement in terms of feasibility and time savings over the case in which schedules are generated by neglecting congestion. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates the ability of the proposed model to increase the utilization of UAVs and smaller roads during high congestion to minimize overall delivery time.

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