The drone delivery problem (DDP) has been introduced to include aerial vehicles in last-mile delivery operations to increase efficiency. However, the existing studies have not incorporated the communication quality requirements of such a delivery operation. This study introduces the Communication-aware DDP (C-DDP), which incorporates handover and outage constraints. In particular, any trip of a drone to deliver a customer package must require less than a certain number of handover operations and cannot exceed a predefined outage duration threshold. The authors develop a Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) model to minimize the total flight distance while satisfying communication constraints as well as the time windows of customers. We present a Genetic Algorithm (GA) that can solve large instances, and compare its performance with an off-the-shelf MIP solver. Computational results show that the GA can outperform the MIP solver for solving larger instances and is a better option.
|Publication status||Published - Mar 11 2022|