News • 29.06.2020

Could drones deliver packages more efficiently by hopping on the bus?

Aerial transport could take load off city streets – provided drones a ride

A white drone flying high in a city with skyscrapers...
Source: PantherMedia/leolintang

One-click purchases and instant delivery have helped fuel the growth of e-commerce, but this convenience has come at the cost of increased traffic congestion, longer commute times, and strained urban communities. A 2018 report from Texas A&M University found that delivery trucks represent just 7 percent of U.S. traffic but account for 28 percent of the nation's congestion. Delivery drones could help take some of the load off the pavement, and aerial delivery systems already operate in some countries. But even the best drones have limited payload capacity and flight range. What if we could combine the last-mile flexibility of drones with the long-haul capacity of ground-based vehicles to make e-commerce more traffic-friendly?

In a recent presentation at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), our Stanford research team unveiled a framework for routing a large fleet of delivery drones over ground transit networks. In our setup, the drones were able to hitch rides on public transit vehicles to save energy and increase flight range. Our algorithm decided which drones should make which deliveries, one package at a time, in what order – and when to fly versus hitching a ride.

In our experiments, we ran simulations over two real-world public bus networks and corresponding delivery areas in San Francisco (150 square kilometers) and the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area (400 square kilometers). We found that the drones could quadruple their effective flight range by strategically hitching rides on transit vehicles. We also found that the "makespan" of any batch of deliveries – the longest it took for any drone in the team to deliver one of the packages in the batch – was under an hour for San Francisco and under two hours for the Washington, D.C., area.

The framework was created by the Stanford Intelligent Systems Laboratory, led by Mykel Kochenderfer, and the Autonomous Systems Laboratory, led by Marco Pavone. "Delivery drones are the future," Kochenderfer said. "By using ground transit judiciously, drones have the potential to provide safe, clean and cost-effective transport."

Source: Stanford School of Engineering

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Ecommerce searches on Google
29.05.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Ecommerce searches on Google

Nearly 50 percent drive no clicks to the shops

Nearly half of all ecommerce-related searches on Google never result in consumers clicking through to a retail or other website according to a new study by Searchmetrics. The company says these findings tie-in with retailers who are not seeing the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Last mile: What do you have to do?
14.08.2020   #supply chain management #logistics

Last mile: What do you have to do?

How to win the battle for customer experience excellence in both the first and last mile of delivery

As recent events have caused major supply chain disruption with many physical stores abandoned, e-commerce has never been more under the spotlight. The double-digit growth the industry has seen over the last few years looks set to continue, ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Electronic bill of lading solutions to enhance safety and efficiency...
02.07.2020   #supply chain management #coronavirus

Electronic bill of lading solutions to enhance safety and efficiency

Consumer Brands spearheads contactless delivery task force

The Consumer Brands Association announced that it has brought together 23 consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and retailers to launch a new task force that will study the impact of a contactless pick-up and delivery protocol to create greater ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Getting a taste for grocery deliveries
14.08.2020   #e-commerce #customer satisfaction

Getting a taste for grocery deliveries

What are the best online grocery delivery options?

Bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, pasta, butter ... Brick-and-mortar stores are no longer the only place where consumers turn to for their groceries. The COVID-19 crisis has spurred a boom in food delivery services. So how do groceries end up in your ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Spotlight on ... packing
20.07.2020  

Spotlight on ... packing

Find out everything about packaging in our current iXtenso spotlight

Thumbnail-Photo: Key elements of successful supply chain management...
15.07.2020   #personnel management #logistic systems

Key elements of successful supply chain management

5 tips to optimize your supply chain and mitigate risk

A chain consists of many small individual links and only works as a whole when these links connect effectively. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The same principle applies to supply chains. What are the best practices for ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Spotlight on ... supply chain management
15.07.2020  

Spotlight on ... supply chain management

Employees, customers, external actors, technology - what factors are important for an optimized supply chain?

Thumbnail-Photo: Millennials averaged 50% more online deliveries than baby boomers …...
22.07.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Millennials averaged 50% more online deliveries than baby boomers …

… even though millennials favor eco-friendly choices

Millennials have become online “super buyers” during the COVID-19 lockdown and are receiving an average of 50 per cent more deliveries every week than the over-55 “baby boomer” generation, a new survey of 2,000 consumers has ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Online retailers need to better inform customers about the status of...
21.07.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Online retailers need to better inform customers about the status of their orders

E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020 by parcelLab

parcelLab has analysed for the second time the shipping services of 100 of the largest German online shops (according to EHI). The results show that 1 in 4 retailers in Germany only send a single email to their customers after their checkout. This ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Supply chain: Know what’s on your retail shelves...
15.07.2020   #brick and mortar retail #personnel management

Supply chain: Know what’s on your retail shelves

What should bricks-and-mortar retailers pay attention to in their supply chain management?

The Cha-Ching sound of the cash register rings up sales – that’s music to a retailer’s ears. Satisfied customers and happy employees are the key to increasing sales. What role does effective supply chain management play in this ...