Integrating autonomous delivery service into a passenger transport system

I am very happy to announce that our paper:

Integrating autonomous delivery service into a passenger transportation system

Is now published in the International Journal of Production Research, and available online here. The publisher also provides 50 free copies that can be obtained here.

Within the cargo hitching research domain,  we consider an integrated system in which a set of freight requests needs to be delivered using a fleet of grounded, and autonomous, pickup and delivery (PD) robots where a public transportation service (referred to as scheduled line) can be used as part of PD robot’s journey. Passengers and PD robots (carrying freight) share the available capacity on these Scheduled Lines where passengers are prioritized, and their transport demand is uncertain. 

Figure

Building upon the previous work from Slavic Ghilas, Emrah Demir, Francois Cordeau and myself, we build a new model and derive new insights. Specifically, we first formulate this problem as a Pickup and Delivery Problem with Time Windows and Scheduled Lines (PDPTW-SL). We then introduce a sample average approximation (SAA) method along with an Adaptive Large Neighborhood Search (ALNS) algorithm for solving the stochastic optimization problem. Finally, we present an extensive computational study, analyse its results and give some directions for future research.

Our results show that the proposed cargo hitching system is able to achieve an average of 18.2% cost savings compared to a pure-freight system, and can provide a comparable performance to a system where passengers and freight are separated. This means that such integration represents an opportunity towards more sustainable city logistics. We believe that this study helps in a better understanding of the potential deployment of such integrated systems, and thus, promote more research towards studying this emerging trend in city logistics and transportation.

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