Strategic Design for Delivery with Linked Transportation Assets: Trucks and Drones

Project status

Completed

Start date: 01/01/16
End date: 11/30/17

Researcher(s)

Principal investigators:

About the research

Home delivery by drones as an alternative or complement to traditional delivery by trucks is attracting considerable attention from major retailers and services, as well as startups. While drone delivery may offer considerable economic savings, the fundamental issues of how best to deploy drones for home delivery are not well understood. Our research provides a strategic analysis for the design of hybrid truck-drone delivery systems using continuous approximation modeling techniques to derive general insights. We formulated and optimized models of hybrid truck-drone delivery, where truck-based drones make deliveries simultaneously with trucks, and compared their performance to truck-only delivery. Our results suggest that truck-drone delivery can be very advantageous economically in many settings, especially with multiple drones per truck, but the benefits depend strongly on the relative operating costs and marginal stop costs.

Publications

Report: Strategic Design for Delivery with Linked Transportation Assets: Trucks and Drones (527.36 kb pdf) January 2018

Tech transfer summary: Strategic Design for Delivery with Linked Transportation Assets: Trucks and Drones (334.12 kb pdf) Jan 2018

Sponsor(s)/partner(s)

Sponsor(s):

  • Midwest Transportation Center
  • University of Missouri - Saint Louis
  • USDOT/OST-R