Optimization Approaches for the Traveling Salesman Problem with Drone

40 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2015

See all articles by Niels Agatz

Niels Agatz

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Paul Bouman

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Marie Schmidt

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Date Written: June 27, 2016

Abstract

The fast and cost-effcient home delivery of goods ordered online is logistically challenging. Many companies are looking for new ways to cross the last-mile to their customers. One technology-enabled opportunity that recently has received much attention is the use of a drone to support deliveries. An innovative last-mile delivery concept in which a truck collaborates with a drone to make deliveries gives rise to a new variant of the traveling salesman problem (TSP) that we call the TSP with drone. In this paper, we formulate this problem as an MIP model and develop several fast route first-cluster second heuristics based on local search and dynamic programming. We prove worst-case approximation ratios for the heuristics and test their performance by comparing the solutions to the optimal solutions for small instances. In addition, we apply our heuristics to several artificial instances with different characteristics and sizes. Our numerical analysis shows that substantial savings are possible with this concept in comparison to truck-only delivery.

Keywords: traveling salesman problem, vehicle routing, drones, home delivery

Suggested Citation

Agatz, Niels A.H. and Bouman, Paul and Schmidt, Marie, Optimization Approaches for the Traveling Salesman Problem with Drone (June 27, 2016). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2015-011-LIS. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2639672 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2639672

Niels A.H. Agatz (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Paul Bouman

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Marie Schmidt

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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