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En route truck–drone parcel delivery for optimal vehicle routing strategies

En route truck–drone parcel delivery for optimal vehicle routing strategies

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Recently, several prominent logistic companies in Europe and the USA are seriously considering the idea of using drones launched from trucks and working in parallel to deliver packages. In the relevant literature, a novel problem formulation called travelling salesman problem with drone has been introduced, and some modelling and solution approaches have been presented. Existing approaches are based on the main assumption that the truck can dispatch and pick up a drone only at a node, i.e. the depot or a customer location. Here, the authors present a novel approach aimed to maximise the drone usage in parcel delivering. The authors consider that a truck can deliver and pick a drone up not only at a node but also along a route arc (en route). In this way, the operations of a drone are not strictly related to the customers’ position, but it can serve a wider area along the route. The authors tested the proposed heuristic on benchmark instances and analysed the benefits introduced with the en route approach.

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