Volltext-Downloads (blau) und Frontdoor-Views (grau)

The Piggyback transportation problem : transporting drones launched from a flying warehouse

  • This paper treats the Piggyback Transportation Problem: A large vehicle moves successive batches of small vehicles from a depot to a single launching point. Here, the small vehicles depart toward assigned customers, supply shipments, and return to the depot. Once the large vehicle has returned and another batch of small vehicles has been loaded at the depot, the process repeats until all customers are serviced. With autonomous driving on the verge of practical application, this general setting occurs whenever small autonomous delivery vehicles with limited operating range, e.g., unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) or delivery robots, need to be brought in the proximity of the customers by a larger vehicle, e.g., a truck. We aim at the most elementary decision problem in this context, which is inspired by Amazon’s novel last-mile concept, the flying warehouse. According to this concept, drones are launched from a flying warehouse and – after their return to an earthbound depot – are resupplied to the flying warehouse by an air shuttle. We formulate the Piggyback Transportation Problem, investigate its computational complexity, and derive suited solution procedures. From a theoretical perspective, we prove different important structural problem properties. From a practical point of view, we explore the impact of the two main cost drivers, the capacity of the large vehicle and the fleet size of small vehicles, on service quality.

Export metadata

Additional Services

Search Google Scholar


Document Type:Article
Author:Kai WangORCiD, Erwin PeschORCiD, Dominik KressORCiD, Ilia Fridman, Nils BoysenORCiD
Center:Center for Advanced Studies in Management (CASiM)
Parent Title (English):European Journal of Operational Research
Year of Completion:2022
First Page:504
Last Page:519
Tag:Approximation algorithm; Scheduling logistics; Work sharing
Content Focus:Academic Audience
Peer Reviewed:Yes
Rankings:AJG Ranking / 4
VHB Ranking / A
SJR Ranking / Q1
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt